Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Imran's wake up call (to lazy bloggers)

There I was, happily enjoying the hiatus afforded through the slow-to-no news days of late (and no, Aussies beating Bangladesh has no new(s) element) when Imran bhai shook me along with his almost visibly seething-with-rage rumblings about the 'mismanagement' of the strategies of the Pak ODI team. The charges?
"In one-day cricket, other teams put their best batsmen at No. 2, 3, 4 and 5. But Pakistan keeps its best batsman at No.6 and 7,"
For this Imran can simply check out the batting position of the best ODI batsman in the world. And haven't the Pakistani batsmen at 2, 3, 4 been successful until recently? Is he doubting Malik, Butt and Khan's success in recent times? How come Pakistan was having such a good run in ODIs, until India went and spoiled the party? Wasn't it the same batting order?
"Inzamam-ul-Haq ran out of partners in Abu Dhabi because he was batting lower down the order. I don't know who is behind these atrocious decisions."
While it's true that Inzamam has been batting atleast one position lower than acceptable, most of the recent losses of Pakistan cannot be attributed to that. While many of the wins in recent times, where he still batted at 5, were due to his superb form. So usually his good form even at 5 has contributed to the team's success. In the second Abu Dhabi match, him batting higher would hardly have made a difference because even those above him did not stay long enough to support him. Consistent ODI performance can hardly be achieved through a single performer, and Pak batsmen have generally been doing well - except against India.

Contrast that to a Indian ODI success - while Dhoni has been the exceptional performer (and therefore risen to that number 1 spot) the recent good run of the team can hardly be attributed to just his batting prowess. Yuvraj, Rahul, Sachin, Pathan and Raina have been giving consistent support, and therefore the issue of regularly batting him up the order (despite the temptation being there, due to his tremendous form) has not been as contentious.

On the issue of fielding coach, he has this to say
"The Pakistan cricket team has a bowling coach. Now they have a fielding coach and the skipper himself is a batsman. I don't understand what will Bob Woolmer do."
Which shows how much out of touch he is with the reality of modern ODI game. Even the Aussies got specialist help in fielding, and the top teams are all moving towards specialist bowling/bio-mechanics help. And rightly so, for how can one expect the head coach, usually a batsman, to empathize with the bowlers, plot the various minute details of bowling lines, lengths, strategies etc. Sure, maybe a coach like Imran can help in both aspects...maybe that's what he is implying!

And finally
"Fielding cannot be improved by appointing coaches", he continued. "The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has to understand that Australia and South Africa are good fielding sides because their players play [domestic cricket] on good grounds and in near perfect structure."
Yes, agreed that there has to be basic culture, and infrastructure in place that encourages players to focus on their fielding skills right from the beginning. But that is for *developing* players, not for full blown national players who've been around in the game for many years. How does one expect to improve their skills, if not through specialist help?


Post a Comment

<< Home