Pakistan to shed unpredictable tag, be consistent

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Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, 15:10 [IST]
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Vulnerable Pakistan falling apart

Despite a 3-0 clean sweep in the three-match Test series against England and Asia Cup triumph, Pakistan do not have much to boast this season, as the performance of the team has deteriorated over the last six months.

The on-going series against Sri Lanka has showed how Pakistan's batting has been deteriorated and the need to improve their fielding, as the ODI series put Pakistan in bad light after losing to Sri Lanka in the five-match series 3-1 due to poor fielding and over dependence on a few players as the batting order has collapsed over a period of time.

The Test squad will be tested over time, as they play a three-match series against Sri Lanka, with a lot more confidence after beating the World's No 1 Test team England 3-0 in the month of Jan-Feb 2012 under sub-continental conditions.

After witnessing a whitewash, England came back strongly in the ODI series and gave it back in style as they thrashed Pakistan 4-0 in the four match ODI series in Feb 2012.

Though Pakistan performed very well in Tests, they failed to keep up the momentum against their opponents in the limited overs format of the game, also shows how they are entitled with the unpredictable tag.

Since Pakistan has lost the five match ODI series against Sri Lanka, they might be under pressure to perform well in the three-match Test series.

Looking at the performance of the key players in the last couple of months and the way the team has played over the last six months, looks like the standard has definitely dropped.

The skipper himself has collected 391 runs off 14 matches he has played this calendar year at an average of 39.10 with a highest score of 72*, when compared to 574 in 2011; similarly there is a dip in Mohammad Hafeez's performance too, as he has scored just 371 runs off 14 matches at an average of 26.50 with 105 being his highest score in 2012 so far.

Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali have performed well in the ODIs this year as they have secured 193 off 4 matches and 311 off 8 matches respectively. Apart from these two youngsters, others have been struggling to score runs.

Though the team has won the only ODI against Afghanistan, Asia Cup in March 2012 and the Test series against England, Misbah's XI need to go a long way as they are placed sixth in the ODI rankings with 103 points, while they are in the fifth spot (108) behind India in the Test ratings.

In terms of bowling Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul have been very impressive as they have claimed 21 and 15 in the limited overs format of the game, while the talented all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been a total let-down with just 14 wickets and 175 runs off 14 matches.

Saeed Ajmal is the only player who has been quite consistent in both the longer and shorter versions of the game, while others have not been very consistent. He has taken 26 scalps in the Tests this year, with 7/55 being his best bowling in an innings and has also claimed 10 wickets in a match.

With a T20 series against Australia lined-up after the completion of the Test series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan need to sort out the issues at the earliest especially concentrate on their batting and fielding, in order to set their eyes on the ICC World T20 Championship.


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