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  1. #1
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    Another tour – same story : How can Pakistan ever win a Test series in Australia?

    Thanks to @Markhor for this detailed review of yet another 3-0 drubbing for Pakistan Down Under.


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    There are few guarantees in life, but Pakistan on the receiving end of a Test series defeat in Australia is a constant in an ever-changing world. The narrative has not changed much - mental fragility under pressure, an ability to self-implode with the bat at inopportune times, bowlers ineffective on truer surfaces and inept fielding. Part of the disappointment stems from the fact many Pakistan fans were quietly confident heading into this tour. Pakistan had reached #1 in the Test rankings a few months ago; they were facing an Australian team under the spotlight after a home defeat to South Africa coming months after a whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka. If ever there was a time to vanquish the ghosts of the past – this was it. The fact Pakistan came a mere 39 runs short at Brisbane courtesy of stunning fightback from Asad Shafiq and the tail, fuelled such hopes amongst fans. This was a battle hardened and resilient set of players capable to taking the fight to the baggy greens. The first two and a half days of the Melbourne Test confirmed this renewed optimism. Yet, as always in Australia, it went horribly wrong. “Mental disintegration” was the phrase used to describe Steve Waugh’s side’s ruthless targeting of opponents. Pakistan seem to have mental disintegration down to an art form every time they land in Australia. The question is why?

    Firstly, it’s time for Pakistan fans to accept their bowling, subject of much hype, romanticisation and cliché, is not as good as they think it is. The numbers paint a grim picture. They have taken 33 out of 60 wickets in this series at an average of 61.63 and an economy of 4.25. This has been Pakistan’s worst ever bowling performance in a three-match series and worst ever bowling display in Australia therefore it’s no surprise the hosts have been able to declare 4 times out of 6 innings. Pakistan have been wasteful with the new Kookaburra, failing to bowl the accurate lines and lengths needed to take early wickets.

    No bowler has covered themselves in glory apart from Wahab Riaz (though his tendency to overstep remains frustrating). Mohammad Amir returned last year with much fanfare, yet appears a shadow of his former self. His former coach Waqar Younis and former teammate Mohammad Asif have suggested Amir needs to bowl closer to the stumps to increase his chances of gaining LBWs and bowleds – and bowl more attacking, fuller lengths. Pakistani fielders haven’t helped his cause, but with an average of 41 in his 11 Tests since his comeback, and an eye-watering average of 61 on this tour one wonders whether patience is starting to wear out. Pakistani pacers often struggled in the past in Australia to bowl the right lengths, getting carried away with the bounce by bowling too short and this tour was no exception. Can anyone explain the logic of Imran Khan or Sohail Khan, with their pace often no higher than 135KPH, bowling short to a batsman as strong off the back foot as David Warner? Too often Australian batsmen were given a chance to free their arms thanks to in-disciplined Pakistan bowling. Coach Mickey Arthur’s public utterances do not suggest much faith in his right-arm pace options and this tour has validated those fears.

    Another issue is fitness. It’s become a common sight to see Pakistani seamers huffing and puffing during their third and fourth spells despite the fact there’s been so many rain delays on this tour. Once again, this goes back to the issue of a flawed domestic system. In FC cricket, on average 65-70 overs are bowled in a day. Rarely do seamers have a workload of 25+ overs in an innings. This is insufficient preparation for the rigours of an international tour, especially outside Asia, where pacers are expected to have a higher workload. Compounding these problems is Yasir Shah’s form - he has been a gun bowler for Pakistan since his Test debut in October 2014. He is the joint second-fastest to reach 100 wickets in Tests. However, when the leg-spinner is attacked, there does not appear to be a Plan B. Yasir has conceded 672 runs on this tour, the most by any bowler in a three-match series. Yasir's economy rate in the 2nd innings in Sydney was 8.85 - the worst by a bowler delivering 10 or more overs in an innings. Its true Misbah’s leg-side fields have not helped Yasir. But Yasir is not a leggie with a great deal of variety, his strength is attacking the stumps and picking up bowleds and LBWs. Yasir does not possess a sharp turning leg break and his action does not allow him to produce a great deal of side spin - a must on unfriendly pitches outside Asia.

    Pakistan’s batsmen have shown more application on this tour than their predecessors. Brisbane (where a world record fourth innings chase was almost pulled off) saw Pakistan cross 400 for the first time in Australia since December 1983. At Melbourne, Pakistan posted 443 in the 1st innings thanks to a superb double hundred from what has been their man of the series in Azhar Ali. The pitches have been flat, but these were not achievements to be scoffed at given Pakistan on their previous tour of Australia could not cross 350 once against an arguably weaker bowling attack. Yet the paradox of the situation is that while Pakistan as a batting unit (with an average of 29.77) have performed better than all of their predecessors since 1983/84, their batting failed when it mattered. The 5th Day debacle at the MCG when a draw was in sight will go down as the worst collapse in a year full of collapses even by Pakistani standards. With that the series was gone.

    What’s also been disconcerting is the form of Pakistan’s young batsmen. Australia is one place where any technical flaws are ruthlessly exposed. Babar Azam is one of Pakistan’s brightest prospects yet was dismissed 4 times in 6 innings by Josh Hazlewood. Twice at the SCG he was dismissed lbw in the same manner where Hazlewood went wide of the crease and got the ball to seam in. Twice, Azam looked to work the ball to the leg-side and got out playing around his front pad. Sami Aslam is another bright prospect yet had a torrid time down under. Whilst possessing a solid defence and discipline outside off stump better than most of his predecessors who’ve opened the batting for Pakistan – Aslam has a tendency to get stuck at the crease and goes to risky release shots used to relieve the pressure. Another issue looking back at Pakistan’s batting has been their recklessness against Nathan Lyon who took 15 wickets in the series. Pakistan failed to show him any respect, playing Lyon as if they were in the UAE and lost wickets trying to slog him out of the attack. There were some ill-judged sweeps from the batsmen, not realising that the shot can be risky since a spinner will obtain more bounce from truer surfaces in Australia.

    Now to address the elephant in the room that is the issue of skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. The scandal and infighting that have been a fixture of Pakistan cricket have evaporated under Misbah’s dignified leadership. At No.5 Misbah has been a constant, a rock of stability. It was those reasons why PCB were adamant Misbah saw the team through Pakistan’s tour of England last summer. Misbah’s own existence as captain is defined by events that took place on the last tour of England in 2010, therefore the trip became a matter of personal redemption for nearly everyone associated in Pakistan cricket. A military training camp was initiated, the players embarked upon weeks of acclimatisation, even an army of media managers hired to avoid any negative press ahead of the trip. Misbah’s own performance was solid with an average of nearly 40 including a famous hundred at Lord’s. When Pakistan squared the series at The Oval, the Misbah era had reached its zenith. Even his critics were starting to come around. In hindsight, it appears that was the time for Misbah to call it a day having seen his six yearlong efforts reach fruition with his side at the summit of the ICC Test rankings.

    However, at the insistence of Chairman Shahryar Khan and a desire to see his side through tough overseas tours in Australia and New Zealand rather than give a younger captain a baptism of fire, Misbah continued on. If England was a personal crusade, the series against West Indies, New Zealand and Australia appeared like a foreman’s final chores to get through before he clocks out. The problem is at 42 years’ young – a ripe old age for any international cricketer, not only does the body begin to slow down but the mind too. Motivation to step out onto the field starts to wane, especially when at 42 - retirement talk is never far away. Misbah has not been at the races since that day in South London. His shot selections have been reckless. Australia is not a kind place for ageing batsmen with slowing reflexes, though Younis Khan somehow keeps defying Father Time. His on-field tactics were poor. Sitting in and waiting is effective in Asia when a captain is afforded two spinners. But outside Asia one has to look for wickets instead of waiting for batsmen to make mistakes - especially when you have three seamers and no fifth bowler. Outside the new ball overs, Pakistan rarely operated with two pacers in tandem.

    It is desperately sad that the Misbah era may have ended with a whitewash but sport is an unforgiving arena that does not produce the fairy-tale ending one may desire. Misbah said in his press conference he wants to go home, consult with family and friends, and make a final decision on his career. It is right that Pakistan fans give him the time and space to do so. Pakistan’s Test future is not something that can be decided upon in haste.

    However, what is not disputed is that Misbah-ul-Haq joins the ranks of every Pakistan captain since Mushtaq Mohammad, the last Pakistan skipper to draw a series in Australia, who’ve tried to conquer the land down under and have returned unsuccessful. Ultimately, Australia play a harder, aggressive brand of cricket that Pakistan find difficult to live with. They are fitter, their pacers a class above and more aware of the lengths to bowl on these surfaces. Their batting is more dynamic in these conditions. In David Warner, they have a destructive matchwinner and in Steve Smith arguably the best Test batsman in the world. Pakistan now must prepare for the future, fill the void that will soon be left by two veterans in Younis and Misbah, and rebuild a seam attack torn apart Down Under. Another opportunity to vanquish the ghosts of the past awaits in the Caribbean where Pakistan also have never won a series. Meanwhile, another tour, another 3-0.


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  2. #2
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    1) Arriving in Australia 4-5 weeks in advance

    2) Playing 3-4 practice games

    3) Playing the ODI and T-20 series first before the test matches

    4) Have the right team combination i.e. 5 full time bowlers i.e. 4 pacers with one being a pace bowling all rounder, 1 spinner.

  3. #3
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    We will never win in Aus. 8th consecutive loss and 4th consecutive whitewash. Not in our generation

  4. #4
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    How can Pakistan draw let alone win a test or test series in Australia? I predicted 3-0 loss after the first test despite the fight back in the second innings. Our players lack the discipline or temperament needed to play well over 5 days. Batting well in one innings is not good enough in these conditions. As we have seen you can lose a test despite scoring 450. Bowling was a total failure in this series. For some reason the same bowling attack that did well in England looked toothless down under. Even the two Ws were more successful in England than Australia in tests. They did not bowl us to any test wins in Australia. Misbah's captaincy was ultra-defensive and clueless at times to say the least. His field settings were ultra defensive (heavy focus on leg side field). With his own poor batting firm he just could not inspire the team. Fielding/catching was also substandard. It will be a while before we can end this jinx in Australia.
    Last edited by AZulfi; 9th January 2017 at 07:12.

  5. #5
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    Conditions were good for batting at both Melbourne and Sydney and we should have been able to secure a draw on the final day.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZulfi View Post
    The two Ws were more successful in England than Australia in tests. They did not bowl us to any test wins in Australia
    Imran Khan did (Sydney 1977) with match haul of 12/165 (6/102 and 6/63)

    Sarfraz Nawaz did (Melboune 1979) with match haul of 11/125 (2/39 and 9/86)

  7. #7
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    Now this could just be mere coincidence but under Azhar Mahmood's coaching (he was appointed as bowling coach in Nov 2016), bowling has gone downhill

  8. #8
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    Simple! We need to be far more aggressive in our approach. Analysing the Aussies one can't help but admire how fast they score runs starting from the start it's all guns blazing. By comparison we are slow losing our first wicket mostly with under ten on the board. Opener's set the pace, ours play to avoid losing their wicket then scoring runs. In Cricket unlike Football the coach doesn't matter much, Azhar who was an average bowler himself can't help on the field of play. The problem is deep rooted that can't be sorted in a day unless the whole system is cleaned. Many players are just "safarshis" in the team due to their family connections. They whole decayed system needs to be uprooted. I am sick off being told how good Amir and Yasir are when they are not!


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

  9. #9
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    forget about winning the series.. need to find out how to win a match.. Pak hasn't won any match for the last 3 OZ tours IIRC..

  10. #10
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    make it 4 successive 3 test series losses or 0-12, an embarrassing stat

  11. #11
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    This was the best opportunity for them to win. Aussies were not that strong .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaFighter View Post
    1) Arriving in Australia 4-5 weeks in advance A more realistic schedule... Arrive 1 week in advance, then see point 3

    2) Playing 3-4 practice games play a t20 & an ODI warm up game, then those series, then 10-12 days break before the test series, in which you play a 2 or 3 day game vs CA XI (academy kids/u19s) and insist next game is a 4 dayer against a Sheffield Shield team at decent strength or Aus A

    3) Playing the ODI and T-20 series first before the test matches great idea

    4) Have the right team combination i.e. 5 full time bowlers i.e. 4 pacers with one being a pace bowling all rounder, 1 spinner.
    This way you could have a proper preparation. Thing is this schedule is very tricky due to Boxing Day & New Year test dates being locked in & the CA prioritising Big Bash during peak summer & ODI's later in the summer (February)

  13. #13
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    First we need the right combination then motivation and devotion to win.
    Along with this we need

    1- Good Pacer All rounder
    2- Spinner who can bat
    3- 3 Tall height Fast bowler who can bowl 140+km
    4- Batsman with good temperament
    5- A good fielding side who don't drop catches
    6- Mental strength

  14. #14
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    my biggest issue is our inability to get draws!! we should have drawn in edgebaston and we should have drawn both of the final two test matches in aus. We need to elarn how to not lose matches. We have shown we can win matches but outside the UAE we just dont draw enough matches..we really need to learn to do that..

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by the Great Khan View Post
    my biggest issue is our inability to get draws!! we should have drawn in edgebaston and we should have drawn both of the final two test matches in aus. We need to elarn how to not lose matches. We have shown we can win matches but outside the UAE we just dont draw enough matches..we really need to learn to do that..
    You dont draw matches by just blocking out deliveries, making the players play their natural games will be a good start.

  16. #16
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    I think we are getting overly harsh at the team. Yes, they disappointed us because ours was far better team than what the Australia has, and I still believe that. Below are the points I think we should understand:

    1) Except for South Africa, and for England in 2011, no other team has even managed to win a test match, let alone a series in Australia. Srilanka has not won the match for long time, and India has won only 2 test matches one in Adelaide in 2003, and the other in Perth in 2008 in last 20 years.In fact, they were whitewashed brutally in a 4 match series. So, Australia has always been a challenging spot for the SC teams, similarly Australia/NZ/England face tough to win in SC.

    Ian Chappel would not criticise India, for them not winning a test match in Australia because that would impact his IPL contract. Both these brothers Ian and Greg do not have much credibility left, even in Australia. Ask Ganguly , and he would tell you how awful Greg's analysis was when he was India's coach. And even our experts sitting in studio sometimes give unnecessary statements which does not bode well. Except for Wasim Akram and Rashid Latif, who really give good opinions, comments made by Shoaib Akhtar and MoYo are totally biased. Unlike them, our players do not have luxury to play at home plus this is the first time for Sami Aslam, Azhar, Sarafarz, Shafiq, YAsir, Rahat, Wahab, Babar Azam who are playing any test match in Australia and or in NZ. And this has never happened in any test match in Australia, where the opposing team has 7/8 players in the line up who are playing in australia for the first time.

    So the problem is why there were not many matches arranged between these 2 sides in last 6/7 years. While India toured Australia 5 times barring World Cup between Sep 2010, this was our first visit.

    Secondly,when Australia lost the series in UAE 2-0 against us, Chappell's said that only Clarke , warner, Johnson and Siddle has experience of playing in SC pitches, so it is unfair for Australian media to criticise the new team.

    And here we are bashing our team without understanding their difficulties. We are frail, and whatever these Australians say we agree with them.


    2) Fair analysis : I think , whatever Misbah pointed out is obviously fair and transparent. If you are touring to a certain country where there was almost no preparation, and that too after a gap of 6/7 years, its obviously difficult. We did not get the fair practice games, as Australians 3rd grade U-19 team showed up in the practice game. Instead of blaming the team , which I think is unfair, it is mismanagement by the PCB. I mean is it that difficult for PCB to ask for additional practice match or a better team?

    PCB, I think is overly obsessive in bringing cricket back in Pakistan, which I think is a good motive, but they is treading too fast in that lane. I mean, if I were a rival board , and if I have a report with me that even Afghanistan has cancelled their tour to Pakistan, then on what basis they are convincing other board members for. And no board, for that matter wants that cricket should never return to Pakistan. Any incident in a high profile match with good international team, and then that will be over for Pakistan. ICC understands that, but unluckily PCB do not understands that there is still risk. And if PCB is so adamant in doing that,then why Zimbabwe was not invited again for yet another short series in Pakistan. Approach should be first invite who is willing to come on a regular basis and build confidence in others. Thats why people dislike unprofessional approach by PCB. There is always a gradual steps to be taken to achieve a goal. And I think if they even make a target of playing every year with Zimbabwe, Ireland in Pakistan, then may be after 2 years WI/SL will definitely come. Our PCB does not believe in reasoning and sound judgement, does not mean that the other board members are also like that.

    Secondly, there is so much pessimism within the PCB that they are being sidelined in the ICC, which I think is wrong and misrepresented. There are only 7/8 proper teams in cricket, so cricket can not survive without Pakistan. Keeping these things in mind PCB should become more confident and understand their own value.

  17. #17
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    failure to prepare is preparation for failure.
    we should bave scrapped the windies tour to uae and given the players a break.
    we should have gone to australia early like we did england and had a proper build up.
    england in england (looking at current teams) is much harder than aus in aus (talking tests)


    If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got #improve

  18. #18
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    Thank you for the comments guys. Was a rather long winded review but wanted to cover all areas.

    I agree with @AlphaFighter and @Abdullah that the preparation was appalling. Its as if PCB looked at the prep for the England tour (which was near perfect) and decided to throw that out the window.

    WI series should've shortened to 2 Tests, 3 ODIs and 1 T20 to allow more time for acclimatisation in Australia and New Zealand. We don't tour these places regularly so it makes the buildup all the more important.

  19. #19
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    Pakistan is a very long way off winning a Test series in Australia.

    Some things that need improving on to help would be:

    Better planning ahead of a series
    Pak players playing in Australlian first-class and domestic cricket



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justcrazy View Post
    This was the best opportunity for them to win. Aussies were not that strong .
    The Aussies are very beatable, but it still takes a good side with a strong work ethic to put them down. If you watched our fielding today you would have to conclude it is sheer arrogance to expect victory from such an undisciplined outfit. It's like expecting Zimbabwe to win a test series in Australia.


    I for one welcome our new In____ overlords - Kent Brockman

  21. #21
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    Pakistan has a mental block against australia. They batted better than they have over the last thirty years in Australia. Bowling was poor, but batting crumbled in key moments when the heat was on - there is residual mental scarring in the DNA of every Pakistani player. They need to exorcise their demons of inferiority, otherwise they will never win. Its not about the conditions etc.

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