Before we try to dig deeper into the defeats incurred by Pakistan recently; the world cricket needs a strong Pakistan cricket team to keep the competition alive. As on date a certain Australia, England, India & South-Africa are the teams who are playing tough & competitive cricket across the globe. Pakistan have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to build a team from scratch from all the young talent available at hand. They should try and resist the temptation of going back to 2 Ys (Younis & Yousuf) and if that is the way they want to play cricket then why not ask Waqar, Wasim & Inzy to join as well. With senior players under a cloud, and some unsure of whether they are active or retired, a group of youngsters with the most incredible ability has been thrown together. Three young fast bowlers, and doubtless a dozen more tucked away in by lanes, are making the world sit up and take notice. A young left-armer has emerged, who has the potential to cause batsmen a lot of distress. If we look at the records Pakistan have won only 2 test matches since beginning of 2009 and 2008 they did not play any test match. Now all they need is a young all-rounder to bat at No. 6 (someone like Yasser Arafat who is sharpening his skills at Sussex), a wicketkeeper who doesn’t enjoy controversy, and some parliamentarians who can stay away from cricket. It will be criminal to miss an opportunity like this. Throwing out Youngsters to face a strong Australian team without having strong domestic credential is equally criminal a sure short recipe to ruin the test careers before they start; Pakistan needs to take a leaf out of India’s way of doing things up to certain level where likes of Suresh Raina gets to debut after 98 ODIs and compiling some great performance on the opportunities given to him; The bench looks solid with likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma & Cheteshwar Pujara to name a few. I also think someone needs to have a word with young Cheteshwar Pujara on what you need to do to play for India. He might be a bit confused.
While watching the last Pakistani innings at Touton; It felt as if the batsmen had no clue on where the ball would swing after pitching; this kind of performance would make me applaud what Bangladesh did at 2 Test & 3 ODI series against England; they fought tooth and nail and gave England a good competition hence stretching the test match to 5th day on both occasions while putting a price on their performances. Probably they would like to loan out Ishant & Mithun to bat for them in middle order to make sure next time the score at least reaches 100+. Pakistan needs make this series count and play like cornered tigers the way Imran use to refer them during ‘92 season; while winning the world cup.
In late 2009 the ICC informed us the UDRS was a crucial component in ensuring correct decisions were reached on the field. Now here we are in mid-2010 and two Test series are going to be completed without the use of the UDRS. There are different reasons for the absence of UDRS in the Pakistan v Australia and the Sri Lanka v India series. The Pakistan board (the “home” board, in this case) said it can’t afford the system, while India doesn’t want it. What are the chances of ensuring correct decisions are made on the field if there appears little likelihood of reaching consensus off it?
At the heart of it all, and this has been the case for years, is the fact that the ICC doesn’t want to pay for the diagnosis. And the television networks, already burdened with huge costs, are not too keen to incur another if it doesn’t add significantly to viewing pleasure. I would imagine new contracts that broadcasters will have to sign with cricket boards will require them to use additional technology. But whether or not the UDRS becomes mandatory, India’s bowlers will still have to generate enough convincing appeals to produce 20 wickets. Currently, if you have a long run-up, you have a decent chance of playing for India.
A holistic approach to improving the standard of umpiring, including use of a widely accepted UDRS could help the game progress. However, at the moment reaching the right conclusion on the field is impossible while they don’t have consensus off the field.
As seems to be case with the dead pitches as with UDRS; they need desperately need a someone from ICC to look after this issue and make sure Curators are sued for co-operating in killing test cricket which is any under the scrutiny after the emergence of T-20s. Curators need to realize that players with bat in their hands are not the only who are playing this game and would win it for the team; there are some species of bowlers required to complete the format of the game. This curator is widely required in India to help the country with its deteriorating Roads & Highway conditions.
While I Write this; India heads into the 3rd test with Sri Lanka; India might still pull it back in the series. Sri Lanka without Murali might not have anyone to provide both the bulk of the overs and the wickets, while Malinga is still under scanner of fitness and India’s batsmen might look a little less rusty, but it comes back to taking 20 wickets. In the absence of Zaheer Khan – and considering he has a shoulder injury, I fear India might have to start getting used to that for a while – this was the best attack India could put on the park.
For India to square the series the batsmen will have to put up a mountain of runs.