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  1. #1
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    Pakistan's perfect blend of youth and experience bodes well for the future

    If the superb showing at Harare is an indication of the new ruthless drive to be the best, Pakistan cricket’s future looks as bright as ever in T20Is writes Saj for FirstPost.


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    If one were to ask for a perfect recipe for making the world’s number one-ranked T20I team, the ingredients would revolve around a combination of a young side which has no fear of failure, a perfect blend of youth and experience, a leader who will not take 'no' for an answer from his wards when it comes to putting in their best and a head coach who is not shy of setting standards that are the envy of other sides around the world.

    What the world of cricket saw recently in the winner of a triangular series involving hosts Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan was a side which continues to astound observers with their astonishing abilities to reach newer heights with every passing game.

    The success that Sarfaraz Ahmed’s T20I side continues to achieve as they strengthen their number one standing in the shortest format of the game is no fluke. There may appear to be more madness than method when it comes to the selection of Pakistan’s T20I squads, but the results that this side is producing on a consistent basis is no stroke of luck in a format which is notorious for producing freak results.

    To continue to win at a rate which puzzles many who have seen Pakistan cricket self-destruct in the past is an achievement in itself. But, when the record reads nine consecutive T20I series wins for a side in which consistency was an alien term, it is simply a tribute to the hard work of the players and the management of the Pakistan T20I side.

    Consider the manner in which the Pakistan side, stung by their nine-wicket loss to Australia in the initial stages of the tri-series, responded to the challenge and one can see what makes them so special. A much lesser side would have possibly panicked and gone into their shell, but Sarfaraz’s men took that defeat as simply an indication that they needed to step up their game a notch or two.

    And step up they did, but then they do have some special talent at their disposal, without which the best-coached and captained teams of the world cannot deliver when it's needed most.

    The response to the initial defeat to Australia was to introduce into the fray a young fast-bowler in the shape of Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had earlier been praised by India Under-19 Coach and batting great Rahul Dravid. A batting line-up which featured a batsman like Aaron Finch, who had just blasted the Zimbabwean attack to all corners of the ground as he went about collecting the highest individual T20I score of 172, was not one against whom one would experiment with their youngest bowler. But such is the confidence in this Pakistan side, the never-say-die attitude inculcated by head coach Arthur and captain Sarfaraz, that Australia's batting success in the previous game against Zimbabwe was taken as a challenge to be met head-on.

    The three wickets that the 18-year-old Afridi achieved in his four overs wowed many an observer as he ripped apart the very core of the Australian batting strength with deliveries that looked years beyond the capabilities of those young shoulders. The bowling performance by Pakistan in that 45-run victory was headlined by Afridi’s fast-bowling excellence, but the likes of Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were not too far behind in terms of the variations they provide to this Pakistani bowling attack.

    But there was another star performer in the shape of Fakhar Zaman. The opener, who rose to fame with that iconic century in the Champions Trophy final against India in the English summer of 2017, continued to impress one and all with his fine ability to take on the Australian and Zimbabwean attacks with zeal that would have made Saeed Anwar proud.

    When the final ball of the tri-series was bowled, Fakhar had scored the most runs, 278, in a T20I series for Pakistan with scores of 61 off 40 balls, 6 off 11, 47 off 38, 73 off 42 and 91 off 45 balls — the last of which is his highest T20 score, a performance that he saved for the final against Australia. A former Navy man, Fakhar is an incredibly unassuming talent who has not stopped performing for his country since being given a chance in the Champions Trophy. He is truly a gift that keeps on giving and is a source of inspiration for many a young batsman of humble background around Pakistan.

    It is said that the exuberance of youth is what makes teams special. Whilst the Pakistan fielding may have shown some worrying signs of regressing to its mediocre past, the manner in which some of the younger players can field and lift their side is mind boggling too. Witness the superb catch by Shadab to dismiss a very dangerous looking Alex Carey in the final, and the delight that youth can bring to this side becomes more evident.

    Whilst the young guns continue to inspire their team to greater heights, one cannot underestimate the calming influence that the likes of veterans such as Shoaib Malik bring to the fold. With the decline in the fortunes of Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan are increasingly looking towards Malik to provide the stability under tricky conditions which saw them complete their run chase of 184 in the final, where at one point it appeared that Australia would embarrass the top-ranked team.

    If there is ever proof needed of what a blend of youth and experience can do for a team, one should look no further than the match-winning 107-run partnership in the final which was fashioned by Zaman and Malik.

    For this, apart from the players themselves, the selectors and the chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq must all be congratulated. Along with head coach Arthur, whose insistence for his side to play a new brand of cricket where fitness and performance go hand-in-hand, Inzamam has created the environment necessary for Pakistan to produce winning performances on a regular basis. If the superb showing in this recently concluded tri-series is an indication of the new ruthless drive to be the best, Pakistan cricket’s future looks as bright as ever in the shortest format.


    https://www.firstpost.com/firstcrick...mpression=true
    Last edited by hadi123; 9th July 2018 at 09:28.


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  2. #2
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    The success that Sarfaraz Ahmed’s T20I side continues to achieve as they strengthen their number one standing in the shortest format of the game is no fluke.
    What a line @Saj bhai ����


    We will never surrender. We win or we die. And don't think it stops there. You will have the next generation to fight; and after the next, the next.

    OMAR MUKHTAR

  3. #3
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    Fantastic combination at the moment.

    The only weak links are an opening partner for Fakhar and the number 3 spot.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Fantastic combination at the moment.

    The only weak links are an opening partner for Fakhar and the number 3 spot.
    Babar will sort out the opening spot and for no 3 talat will take some time but inshallah he will come good.

  5. #5
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    I think, #3 should be given to Faheem for some time. He does not get much opportunity to play his natural game. On many occassions, he come to play only few balls, and in some other cases he comes when we face 80/8 [like australia first t20]. For T20 , my XI would be

    Babar
    Fakhar
    Faheem
    Sarfaraz
    Talat
    Malik
    Asif
    Shadab
    Amir/Shinwari
    Shaheen
    Hasan/Imad

  6. #6
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    After seeing what Nawaz can offer, I will definitely pick up Imad, if we want to play left arm spinner.
    I have been following Nawaz from 2016 test match vs West Indies, he simply can't even give mediocre performance. Its pretty bad with him. Can't bowl, Can't bat, although he is a good fielder.

  7. #7
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    Babar needs to bat at 3, unless haris plays, but honestly haris will keep getting injured, he needs to decide on two formats, his body can't play 3.

    Why I want babar at 3, is he can play against the big teams and I don't want to see him being floated around as no. 3 position is a specialist position even in t20

  8. #8
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    Sarfaraz Ahmad should open the innings along with Fakhar Zaman.

    Playing 11:
    Fakhar
    Sarfaraz
    Babar
    Shoaib
    Talat
    Asif Ali
    Faheem
    Shadab
    Aamer
    Hasan Ali
    Shaheen

    Bench:
    Shinwari
    Farhan
    Nawaz ( or any other specialist spinner)
    Maqsood (or any other dynamic batsman)

  9. #9
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    Pakistan is still weak in the spin department. They are missing a bowler like Ajmal who used to run through batting line ups.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhaag Viru Bhaag View Post
    Pakistan is still weak in the spin department. They are missing a bowler like Ajmal who used to run through batting line ups.
    Nope

  11. #11
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    This looks like a decent bunch of players. I can see Pakistan breaking into top 5 in Tests and ODIs too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackShadow View Post
    This looks like a decent bunch of players. I can see Pakistan breaking into top 5 in Tests and ODIs too.
    We are already the 5th ranked ODI team

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by babajee View Post
    We are already the 5th ranked ODI team
    MashaAllah, so things are improving faster than I thought. I guess its just Test matches then!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by iniqbal223 View Post
    After seeing what Nawaz can offer, I will definitely pick up Imad, if we want to play left arm spinner.
    I have been following Nawaz from 2016 test match vs West Indies, he simply can't even give mediocre performance. Its pretty bad with him. Can't bowl, Can't bat, although he is a good fielder.
    Imad is no ATG all rounder but I'd take him 10 times out of 10 over the pseudo all rounder Nawaz.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhaag Viru Bhaag View Post
    Pakistan is still weak in the spin department. They are missing a bowler like Ajmal who used to run through batting line ups.
    Replace Nawaz with a specialist spinner like Zafar Gohar or Raza Hasan and this bowling attack goes to another level.

    Even they would replace Nawaz's batting contributions.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhaag Viru Bhaag View Post
    Pakistan is still weak in the spin department. They are missing a bowler like Ajmal who used to run through batting line ups.
    Ajmal was running through sides like England and Australia, who lets be honest will get dismissed to even a gully mohallah level spinner in Pakistan or India.

    Ajmal did struggle against better spin playing sides like India, but on the days that he wasn't picking up wickets he would restrict the runs.


    #Mein inko rolaonga

  16. #16
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    People are rejoicing too much over this victory.

    The Pakistani T-20 and ODI team is still a good 5-10 years behind teams like Australia, England, NZ, South Africa, India. We do not have the batting fire power and consistent quality bowling.

    The one major benefit of Mickey Arthur's tenure has been the emphasis on fitness, fielding and instilling discipline in the team but there have been negatives as well i.e. the unfair discardal of Imran Khan, Sohail Khan who were giving good performances but have been axed due to not being in the good books of the coach.

    Even with the so called fitness crusade in the team, there are big question marks on why and how the captain Sarfaraz and Mickey's blue eyed boy Imad Wasim keep getting a reprieve for their poor fitness.

    Why does Amir keep getting a reprieve for not doing his job properly and consistently with the ball?

    We still do not have a consistent fiery batsman in the team with the exception of Fakhar Zaman. The team is right now heavily dependent on Shoaib Malik. Babar Azam unfortunately is too timid a batsman, I just don't feel he is the guy to bank on in the face of fiery quality bowling and when the chips are really down.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    People are rejoicing too much over this victory.

    The Pakistani T-20 and ODI team is still a good 5-10 years behind teams like Australia, England, NZ, South Africa, India. We do not have the batting fire power and consistent quality bowling.

    The one major benefit of Mickey Arthur's tenure has been the emphasis on fitness, fielding and instilling discipline in the team but there have been negatives as well i.e. the unfair discardal of Imran Khan, Sohail Khan who were giving good performances but have been axed due to not being in the good books of the coach.

    Even with the so called fitness crusade in the team, there are big question marks on why and how the captain Sarfaraz and Mickey's blue eyed boy Imad Wasim keep getting a reprieve for their poor fitness.

    Why does Amir keep getting a reprieve for not doing his job properly and consistently with the ball?

    We still do not have a consistent fiery batsman in the team with the exception of Fakhar Zaman. The team is right now heavily dependent on Shoaib Malik. Babar Azam unfortunately is too timid a batsman, I just don't feel he is the guy to bank on in the face of fiery quality bowling and when the chips are really down.
    While you are right we need few good batsman or atleast develop a few and need to be more consistent. However, Babar has improved a lot since his NZ ODIs failure. His last innings against Eng in tests before getting injured was pretty amazing. He was in no trouble and handled the pressure really well.

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