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Old 26th November 2006, 16:10
Saj Saj is offline
PP Exclusives and Interviews Team
 
Debut: Jun 2001
Venue: UK
Runs: 59,048
What's Been Going On?

Since my sabbatical on PP, the above is a very pertinent question I find myself asking in relation to the cricketing arena.

The world has been turned upside down and Atlas cannot bear the strain any longer it seems.

Pakistan’s cricketing woes are at the forefront with forfeits, hearings, ‘dummy’ skippers, reinstatements, resignations and doping scandals. I thought the ICC Cricket World Cup had started!

Everything has been documented by my fellow scribes, yet it remains to be seen if the fast men receive any appeal leniency.

On the field, a disastrous Champions Trophy campaign followed. I suspect some mutiny against the skipper didn’t help matters. In an ideal world that doesn’t always relate to Pakistani cricket, I would have preferred the Pakistani selectors to pull Younis aside after the Oval debacle and work with him in selecting a side. Surely, they must have realised Inzi would suffer. Instead, they opened a whole new can of worms.

With that, having persisted with Rao, they dumped him. Where does he stand looking ahead?

The squad for the Third Test has been bolstered buy the return of Mohammad Sami. He has plucked wickets in the Patron’s Trophy, but has been blighted by a stack of no-balls. There is no better opportunity for him to stake his claim to the new ball with a vigorous performance as he will be the most experienced home bowler on show.

Finally, Abdul Razzaq is periously close to an axing. His recent efforts have been in different. His last 6 Tests have yielded 202 runs at less than 30 and 11 wickets at nearly 40. These statistics are not what a skipper desires from the front line all rounder.

Another unfathomable issue is Pakistan are presently playing a weak side on flat tracks and struggling with Collymore and Co, yet in 4 weeks time, they will be heading to South Africa, where the wickets are hard and bouncy. ‘Makky’ and ‘Nellie’, will welcome their brethren with regular bouts of chin music as they systematically demolished spineless India in the ODI in Durban.

Brian Lara confirmed why he is in the echelons of the all time greats by clinically dismantling Pakistan’s only ‘strike bowler’. The bemused skipper showed no inclination to go and encourage Danish and stood watching the ball being dispatched to all parts. Mohammad Yousaf missed a Test ‘Double’ and bemoaned the state of the wickets as less than challenging. It was an appropriate comment which backed up my earlier sentiments.



The Ashes has begun with Australia out of the blocks quicker than Justin Gaitlin. The first three days has been one-way traffic and clearly their intensity to avenge their Ashes loss is plain to see. Ricky Ponting should ease to his 33rd Test century before declaring and letting his hungry pack at the Poms again.

The evergreen McGrath’s performance in the first innings is causing no endless of pain to writers, who are fast running out of superlatives. It was simply copybook bowling, after being dispatched to the ropes, he would simply alter his length the ball after and start again. He was rewarded time and again for sustained discipline and boost his confidence no end.

Defeat so badly will be a bitter dose for England to take and I bravely suspect they won’t fight back in the Series. Even the ‘Barmy Army’ is considering a mutiny.
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