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  1. #1
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    Dark days ahead for Misbah-ul-Haq and Co after abject surrender Down Under

    Writing for FirstPost Sports, Saj reviews the calamitous tour of Australia which ended in a 3-0 whitewash loss for Pakistan.




    The tour of Australia was widely regarded as the acid test to measure Pakistan's new found confidence in Test cricket. Indeed, to many who saw the mercurial side's performance against the much-fancied England side last summer, the manner of Pakistan's resistance to draw the four-match Test series pointed to a new found inner strength which should have held them in good stead on their trip Down Under.

    The disastrous whitewash against New Zealand prior to the Australia visit was put down to a lack of preparation and many were hoping for a miraculous turnaround once Misbah-ul-Haq's men took on a newly energised home-side led by Steve Smith.

    Pakistan, although demoralised by the drubbing received in New Zealand, had a faint glimmer of hope in the shape of an Australian team which had suffered a rare home defeat at the hands of South Africa. Could Pakistan cash in on the Australian team's perceived dip in morale to create history with a series win of their own?

    The first Test in Brisbane, played under lights and with a pink ball, was therefore crucial to the visiting sides overall success in the series. A short three-Test series needed a good start as room for error was much more limited. Misbah and his men had to make this Test count and for that they desperately needed to win the toss and put up a big total. Pakistan's fortunes took a dip from day one of the series as they lost the toss and were put into field by Australia.

    The much-vaunted Pakistan pace attack looked toothless from Day One of the series and when combined with some hopeless fielding, the result was a massive first innings total of 429 for the home-side which seemed to send an alarming signal of supremacy. Pakistan's woes were just beginning to manifest themselves and worst was to follow.

    Reduced to 6/56 in no time by Messeurs Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird, Pakistan crept up to 142 all out, handing a massive advantage to an Australian side which was now brimming with confidence. Centuries by captain Smith and newbie Peter Handscomb were danger signs for Pakistan, which they would have done well to pay heed to. The match would have ended in complete ignominy for Pakistan had it not been for an extraordinary rearguard action by the likes of Asad Shafiq (137) and Azhar Ali (71) ably supported by Mohammad Amir (48), which almost gave them a taste of victory on the last day of the game.

    The 39-run margin of defeat was as close as what Pakistan would come to beating Australia on this tour. A victory, unlikely as it may have been, could have changed the series but was not to be. Both teams went into the second Test in Melbourne with their heads held high. Australia were one up in the series but Pakistan were in possession of moral high ground which was a position they could have capitalised on to their advantage in Melbourne.

    And for most of the first innings in Melbourne, it did appear to be the case. Azhar played a supremely confident 205 not out to help Pakistan to 443 and his team looked in good nick until Australia batted in reply. Pakistan's toothless bowling displays then took a life of their own as David Warner (144) and Steve Smith (165) smashed their way to put Australia (624) right on top. It was then when the wheels truly came off the Pakistan wagon. In a return to the dark days of old when batting collapses were customary, the visitors were bowled out for 163 on Day 5 to hand Australia the match and the series on a platter. Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Starc wreaked havoc on a batting side which only a few days ago, was looking to be back at its best. The innings defeat in the second Test seemed to knock the stuffing out of captain Misbah's unflappable composure and the talk of him retiring and not playing the final Test was rife amongst fans and experts.

    Whether better sense prevailed or PCB stepped into give Misbah some food for thought, the embattled Pakistan captain "restated” his position about retirement and walked on to the Sydney Cricket Ground to lead his team for what would surely be the last time in Australia.

    The Australians duly won the toss and decided to bat first. Warner's mesmerising control over the Pakistani bowlers was on display from Day 1 of this game as he became only the fifth batsman to score a Test hundred before lunch. Renshaw and Handscomb, who continued to repay the faith put in them by Australian selectors, then fired their side to what appeared to be an impregnable position with fantastic hundreds.

    Renshaw, in particular, came close to a double-hundred, and his future with the Test squad looks very bright. The Australian selectors can rightly pat themselves on the back for taking some bold decisions to redesign their team in response to a drubbing from the South Africans before Pakistan's arrival. The Misbah-led side offered some brave resistance in the final Test but the inability to bat through cost Pakistan yet another defeat as was clearly visible in the final innings of the series.

    A three-nil margin of defeat may be a difficult pill to swallow for Pakistan fans but the fair-minded would agree that Australia deserved to take these laurels due to completely outclassing Pakistan in most sessions of the three Test matches.

    Pakistan knew well that the tour of Australia would be a tough one. Misbah's attempt to create history with a series victory was found lacking in many key aspects. Whilst the batsmen did not rise to the occasion, the fact is that no batting line-up would be able to win matches if their bowling colleagues were conceding scores of 400-plus on a regular basis or were unable to take twenty wickets in any of the matches in the series. In fact, the Pakistani attack were only able to take thirty-three wickets of the sixty possible and that in itself speaks volumes about their impotence in Australian conditions. Of course, their fielding was also guilty of sloppiness, with dropped catches also a major reason for the lopsided series score line.

    On the positive side, Pakistan for once, gave a good account of themselves with the bat with two scores around the 450 mark, which sadly was interspersed with two collapses before and after those good displays. The batsmen, led by Azhar, did well to ensure that Australia did not win the series without some serious effort with the ball, being made to bowl 145 and 126 overs at the Gabba and the MCG respectively. Azhar along the way became the highest scorer for Pakistan in a Test series in Australia, and Younis Khan finally came to the party with a near double-hundred in Sydney which gave him the unique distinction of becoming the first-ever batsman to hit a Test hundred in eleven different countries.

    For Australia, the only way is up. As illustrated by the fine form of Smith and the remainder of the batting order, the home-side has a bunch of players who can take on any bowling attack in the world. Australia's batsmen, specially the top five, all flourished at different points in the series with the Pakistan bowlers struggling throughout. Renshaw started with a fifty at the Gabba and then went on to hit a daddy hundred, 184, at the SCG, a superb knock for such a young opener. Apart from the raw game-changing power provided by Warner, Australia were also well served by Usman Khawaja who played a good hand at the Gabba as Australia pushed for a declaration. Amongst the young guns, Peter Handscomb's two centuries earned plaudits from one and all and he looks set for a bright Test career.

    In the skills of Starc (14 wickets) and Hazlewood (15 wickets) Australia know that they have the firepower to blow away any level of opposition. Bird too proved to be a handful for the Pakistani batting order as his fuller length combined with a bit of movement off the seam troubled the batsmen, particularly Misbah - who he dismissed three times in the two Tests he played. He was a good foil to the two strike bowlers, backing them up well and taking 10 wickets in his two appearances. The spin department was well served by Nathan Lyon, though he was under-bowled a touch, with Smith seemingly not trusting the off-spinner. It was Lyon however, who triggered the collapse at the MCG after Azhar and Younis had put on a decent partnership on Day 5.

    Misbah will leave Australian shores knowing fully well that he may well have missed a great opportunity to write a golden chapter in the history of Pakistan cricket. The Sydney loss was the sixth Test loss in a row under his command and also added to the ignominy of being the 12th consecutive loss in Australia overall. There has been a lot of criticism about his tactics and also his poor batting form, but the absence of Amir's skills - which once made him a candidate for attaining Wasim Akram's stature - or the absolute lack of penetration by Yasir Shah did not help either. Misbah's reign as Test captain appears all but over, but what will really worry the Pakistan think tank will be the manner in which their bowling attack has come apart in this series.

    Whether this is a temporary glitch or not, dark days lie ahead for Pakistan; their fans will be well advised to cling on to memories of their captain holding the world No 1 Test ranking mace, as a solution to their immediate problems does not appear to be forthcoming very soon.

    http://m.firstpost.com/sports/austra...r-3192996.html
    Last edited by MenInG; 7th January 2017 at 09:57.


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  2. #2
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    The only recourse is for Misbah to now retire gracefully.

  3. #3
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    I think the majority of supporters on here predicted the inevitable demise. The recent series with NZ wasn't a blip, it was a the immolation of players that shouldn't be in the squad, let alone the team, mixed with the poor scheduling and planning by the PCB and co.

    We've yet to see any replacements for the likes of YK and Misbah even when we played WI in the UAE, showed the lack of future-planning by our incompetent board. To them having "seniors" in the side is to help youngsters - yet we've not really seen any planning for when the 2 oldest players in the side inevitably retire!

    So much so we've had the head of the board asking/telling Misbah [he deserves to retire on his own terms] to hold off on quitting for a little longer as we've not got a suitable or able replacement. Which for me states what the obvious issues are here.

    Then we have Inzi, with all the fandom getting giddy with his appointment as the National selector...yet what we've seen the last few series is him going back to the tried and tested failure of not bloodying in more youngsters and keeping hold of players that shouldn't be included in the Nepal Cricket team.

    The only way is up, but it's when these idiots in charge of our Cricketing issues decide to hold off on the pressure they've submerged our sport, over the past decade or longer.

    It's deja vu all over again and once again, it's isn't pleasant.
    Last edited by Sherlock; 7th January 2017 at 10:56.


    "When You Have Eliminated The Impossible, Whatever Remains, However Improbable, Must Be The Truth!

  4. #4
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    It was expected , the only thing which was a really unexpected was pakistans extremely poor show with the ball. This tour should not bring any wholesale changes though , misbah should retire and younis should after west indies series.


    It is either a heartache or a headache ..Argh relationships.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherlock View Post
    I think the majority of supporters on here predicted the inevitable demise. The recent series with NZ wasn't a blip, it was a the immolation of players that shouldn't be in the squad, let alone the team, mixed with the poor scheduling and planning by the PCB and co.

    We've yet to see any replacements for the likes of YK and Misbah even when we played WI in the UAE, showed the lack of future-planning by our incompetent board. To them having "seniors" in the side is to help youngsters - yet we've not really seen any planning for when the 2 oldest players in the side inevitably retire!

    So much so we've had the head of the board asking/telling Misbah [he deserves to retire on his own terms] to hold off on quitting for a little longer as we've not got a suitable or able replacement. Which for me states what the obvious issues are here.

    Then we have Inzi, with all the fandom getting giddy with his appointment as the National selector...yet what we've seen the last few series is him going back to the tried and tested failure of not bloodying in more youngsters and keeping hold of players that shouldn't be included in the Nepal Cricket team.

    The only way is up, but it's when these idiots in charge of our Cricketing issues decide to hold off on the pressure they've submerged our sport, over the past decade or longer.

    It's deja vu all over again and once again, it's isn't pleasant.
    Can you please tell my what to do mean we don't have replacement for Misbah, what exactly he has done on this tour as captain and as batsman which no one else, even a club level cricketer can't do. He lost all the tests on the dual tour and a tailender Amir outscored him in runs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by moghul View Post
    Can you please tell my what to do mean we don't have replacement for Misbah, what exactly he has done on this tour as captain and as batsman which no one else, even a club level cricketer can't do. He lost all the tests on the dual tour and a tailender Amir outscored him in runs.
    I think you need to carefully read what I wrote. I never said there's no-one better than Misbah, far from it, I said the PCB are so incompetent that they've let the likes of YK and Misbah come to this stage in their careers where we don't anyone readily made to replace them. Instead we've got the Chairman begging Misbah to stay on.


    "When You Have Eliminated The Impossible, Whatever Remains, However Improbable, Must Be The Truth!

  7. #7
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    Its one thing to predict a demise, its another to use it to bash what has been achieved this team so far.
    Yes the stumbled when they traveled. Not the first team to have that happen. At the end of the day, you learn and you move on.

  8. #8
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    Definitely agree with Peter that this tour and the test year as a whole (12 tests in 6 months) must be learned from more than anything...

    Sure it ended dispondantly but there is still plenty to move forward with for the Windies tour:

    Sharjeel
    Azhar
    Asad
    Younis
    Babar
    Sarfraz
    Imad
    Amir
    Yasir
    Wahab
    Asif/Hasan/Sadaf/Ehsan

  9. #9
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    When Pakistan declared on 443 at the MCG on day 3, many Pakistani fans would have been fairly content with how the tour was going. Yes, they were 1 down, but at Brisbane the 4th innings run chase was heroic. At the MCG 443 was the product of a very determined batting effort.

    But from the moment of that declaration, it was quite a dispiriting descent. The team and its supporters chastened. Whilst I thought the bowling may have been overrated, never did I expect such a battering. This was embarrassing, even by Pakistani bowling standards in Australia. They took so few wickets, at such great cost, and conceded runs at a consistently rapid pace. And the batting which was so determined in the first innings at the MCG, just disintegrated so easily in the second. The fielding, well, mercy.

    Yes Pakistan have always struggled in Australia, but after that declaration on day 3, this was a particularly humiliating unravelling.

  10. #10
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    No need to read too much into this derailment of losses. This was expected. When cricket has become so polarised to favour the home teams, where they take full advantage of condiditons, then its unfair to blame our cricketers. For last 6/7 years home team has been dominating the test cricket.
    No one can forget the 4-0 one-sided drubbing of India by the hands of Australia and England back then in 2012. At that point in time they were ranked #1/2. India lost those games one-sidedly, not for a single day they were looked dominant. Moreover, they had star-studded team in Sachin,sehwag,VVS,Dhoni, Kohli, Gambhir,Harbhajan,Zaheer,etc.
    For me, Pak team under Misbah has progressed very well, and yes, it is completely not their fault because of the following reasons:
    1) When you are travelling to NZ/AUS after a gap of 6/7 years it is obvious you are not aware of the conditions. This is a complete mismanagement by PCB/ICC or whoever finalizes these tours.
    2) No point blaming Yasir Shah: As one should realize, he is a work-in-progress. Unfair to compare him with Ashwin who is playing continuously on rank-turners for quite a some time. Yes, Yasir needs to learn how to bowl on non-turning tracks.
    3) Even more so no point blaming Misbah and Younis: This is Younis's first test in Australia after 2004. Whetever, they have achieved so far for this country can not be under-estimated. Even it is not a guaranteed when to win every game when even Sachin was playing. People should desist on setting too much expectations on the players. These guys are doing their best, when no cricket is being played in the country for the last 8 years.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iniqbal223 View Post
    No need to read too much into this derailment of losses. This was expected. When cricket has become so polarised to favour the home teams, where they take full advantage of condiditons, then its unfair to blame our cricketers. For last 6/7 years home team has been dominating the test cricket.
    No one can forget the 4-0 one-sided drubbing of India by the hands of Australia and England back then in 2012. At that point in time they were ranked #1/2. India lost those games one-sidedly, not for a single day they were looked dominant. Moreover, they had star-studded team in Sachin,sehwag,VVS,Dhoni, Kohli, Gambhir,Harbhajan,Zaheer,etc.
    For me, Pak team under Misbah has progressed very well, and yes, it is completely not their fault because of the following reasons:
    1) When you are travelling to NZ/AUS after a gap of 6/7 years it is obvious you are not aware of the conditions. This is a complete mismanagement by PCB/ICC or whoever finalizes these tours.
    2) No point blaming Yasir Shah: As one should realize, he is a work-in-progress. Unfair to compare him with Ashwin who is playing continuously on rank-turners for quite a some time. Yes, Yasir needs to learn how to bowl on non-turning tracks.
    3) Even more so no point blaming Misbah and Younis: This is Younis's first test in Australia after 2004. Whetever, they have achieved so far for this country can not be under-estimated. Even it is not a guaranteed when to win every game when even Sachin was playing. People should desist on setting too much expectations on the players. These guys are doing their best, when no cricket is being played in the country for the last 8 years.
    That indian team was past its prime, kohli was still a newbie, while rest were all done.

  12. #12
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    Needs to work on all department but heavy loads on fielding, if that department not improved we will face more defeats. Seriously lacking a fast bowler all rounder and a good right arm pacer.

  13. #13
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    Misbah's record outside Asia i.e. in England/Aus/NZ//South Africa is 2 wins and 9 losses!)

  14. #14
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    Dark days ahead? We only play tests against the West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka this year and don't tour Australia for the forseeable future. I'm sure the team will get back to top form in conditions that suit their skills.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZulfi View Post
    Misbah's record outside Asia i.e. in England/Aus/NZ//South Africa is 2 wins and 9 losses!)
    Three wins. Those teams combined don't have three wins over Pakistan in the UAE so it balances out.

    Of course, it doesn't mean that our overseas record shouldn't be of concern. This year should be used to remove some of the dead wood and inject some fresh blood into the team. 2018 will be a big year again.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KB View Post
    When Pakistan declared on 443 at the MCG on day 3, many Pakistani fans would have been fairly content with how the tour was going. Yes, they were 1 down, but at Brisbane the 4th innings run chase was heroic. At the MCG 443 was the product of a very determined batting effort.

    But from the moment of that declaration, it was quite a dispiriting descent. The team and its supporters chastened. Whilst I thought the bowling may have been overrated, never did I expect such a battering. This was embarrassing, even by Pakistani bowling standards in Australia. They took so few wickets, at such great cost, and conceded runs at a consistently rapid pace. And the batting which was so determined in the first innings at the MCG, just disintegrated so easily in the second. The fielding, well, mercy.

    Yes Pakistan have always struggled in Australia, but after that declaration on day 3, this was a particularly humiliating unravelling.
    Well put.

    That declaration was always a very dumb move, and from before we lost that game I'd been saying they should've pushed for 550.

    Who knows whether or not a draw at MCG could've brought a different result at Sydney.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    Well put.

    That declaration was always a very dumb move, and from before we lost that game I'd been saying they should've pushed for 550.

    Who knows whether or not a draw at MCG could've brought a different result at Sydney.
    I don't think @KB is talking about the declaration being a dumb (or a smart) move. He's just saying we struggled in its aftermath.

    Why should we take it for granted that the last wicket stand would have put up 110 runs anyway?


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    I don't think @KB is talking about the declaration being a dumb (or a smart) move. He's just saying we struggled in its aftermath.

    Why should we take it for granted that the last wicket stand would have put up 110 runs anyway?
    He wasn't; I was adding on to his point.

    If the plan would've been to get 550 instead of declaring around 450, I'm sure Wahab would've played a bit more sensibly and one could say Sohail might've been less lazy as well. And then we had the double centurion Azhar with Yasir who is also capable.

    Why not?


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    He wasn't; I was adding on to his point.

    If the plan would've been to get 550 instead of declaring around 450, I'm sure Wahab would've played a bit more sensibly and one could say Sohail might've been less lazy as well. And then we had the double centurion Azhar with Yasir who is also capable.

    Why not?
    You don't plan for your bowlers to concede 600.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    You don't plan for your bowlers to concede 600.
    Did saint Misbah actually think we were gonna get the Aussies out for under 243 and then enforce the FO on that pitch? Because that's the only way that declaration would've made a bit of sense.

    And if so, then he's more lost than ever.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    Did saint Misbah actually think we were gonna get the Aussies out for under 243 and then enforce the FO on that pitch? Because that's the only way that declaration would've made a bit of sense.

    And if so, then he's more lost than ever.
    People were asking for the declaration when the score was 350.

    Hindsight is great.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    People were asking for the declaration when the score was 350.

    Hindsight is great.
    ...Which is why I'm saying I had firmly believed he should not have declared before they smashed us for 600+.

    Not talkig about people, but only myself here.

    That declaration always was and will be a stupid declaration.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    He wasn't; I was adding on to his point.

    If the plan would've been to get 550 instead of declaring around 450, I'm sure Wahab would've played a bit more sensibly and one could say Sohail might've been less lazy as well. And then we had the double centurion Azhar with Yasir who is also capable.

    Why not?
    Tailenders like Wahab and Sohail are more likely to get big scores when they are swinging their bats than when they are trying to play "sensibly". @Abdullah719 is right, 550 was never a likely score. Most likely the last wicket would have yielded 20 to 30 more runs, which wouldn't have made any difference to the result.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Napa View Post
    Tailenders like Wahab and Sohail are more likely to get big scores when they are swinging their bats than when they are trying to play "sensibly". @Abdullah719 is right, 550 was never a likely score. Most likely the last wicket would have yielded 20 to 30 more runs, which wouldn't have made any difference to the result.
    Why are you forgetting the fact that Azhar was still there at the other end?

    What was the logic in declaring at 443? The only way a win was possible was if we made them follow on, and there's no way they would've gotten all out under 243 on that pitch after that declaration.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

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    Funny thing was some posters here thought we had a better chance then we did against New Zealand. We are getting smashed to pieces for heaven's sake. This generation or the next one won't make any impact in Australia. They are over respected and overrated players with many in the team due to political connections.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

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    They were #1 ranked team when they began their England tour, then they invited the likes of NZ/WI to whom they gave a convincing beating to move upfront to #2. And with #2 they visited Australia, who had Micheal Hussey and Ponting breathing their last time in their careers, they were also in their last stages.
    And that was the best team that India could put forward.

    The problem here in Pak, is that we do not back our players, just with few expected losses we just turn into well criticizing mode. While any other country they back them. I dont know why we lack that patience..

  27. #27
    Debut
    Oct 2004
    Runs
    79,293
    Mentioned
    1236 Post(s)
    Tagged
    14 Thread(s)
    Time for Misbah to put his mind to the days ahead and take some hard decisions.


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