Saturday, November 28, 2009

Look who's talking!

After losing the opening test by 32 runs, you'd have expected Pakistani batsmen to cop the blame. Falling short chasing down a modest target of 251 in ample number of overs, it does not take any rocket science to figure out where things went wrong, specially given the fact that the pitch wasn't showing any signs of monstrous behavior. Yet when Mohammad Yousuf was asked the reason why Pakistan fell short, he conveniently singled out fielding as the cause of defeat.

Following Pakistan cricket is a thankless job anyway. And players like Mohammad Yousuf, and their such statements, don't make the job any easier. Mohammad Yousuf should be the last person criticizing the team's fielding, given his apathy towards his own fielding. Its the same guy (read: old man) who, after being dropped for the World Twenty20 squad in 2007, said fielding is a useless thing in Twenty20 cricket.
T20 mein fielding kahan karni hoti hai, ball ya tou haath mein aati hai ya chaukka jata hai
(You don't need fielding skiils in T20. The ball either comes straight to you or it goes for a boundary)

If such is the mindset of a player, how can he suddenly give fielding its due importance in the other forms of the game? Had Younis Khan criticized the team's fielding, it would have been understandable. He is one person who sets himself such high standards that he expects the same from others. But Mohammad Yousuf? Its the same Yousuf who, despite being critical of criticism over his fielding, recently admitted that he has had knee troubles since the past 4-5 years. And the troubles are indeed very apparent in his appalling running between the wickets as well. How can such a player who, despite all his class as a batsman, remains a mediocre fielder at best point fingers at it being the cause of defeat?

And more importantly, why is he pointing fingers now? Hasn't he been in the team for long enough now to realize Pakistan's fielding has always been like this? Be it tour to England, Australia or South Africa, Pakistan has always struggled as a fielding unit. That does not mean Pakistan hasn't had any success. The fielding mishaps have always been overcome by excellence in batting and bowling.

And why is he becoming vocal about the fielding now, calling for marked improvements? Just because he is the captain, he knows the blame will fall on him for any lackluster performance. Instead of taking the bullet in his chest by admitting that the batsmen including himself failed, he has conveniently diverted the attention towards fielding.

Can Yousuf not see the more apparent batting troubles? It is rather embarrassing for the entire team to see a 19-year old debutant, Umar Akmal, bludgeon over 200 runs while the rest of the batsmen failed to even get going. The way Shoaib Malik irresponsibly threw his wicket away in both the innings, and how the tried and failed Imran Farhat keeps falling to the slips every time - is that not a cause of concern?

With all due respect Mr. Captain, you have absolutely no right to criticize the team's fielding when you have not set high standards for yourself. The same goes for your non-innovative captaincy and team selection. And finally, diverting attention away from the core issue of repeated batting failures is only an attempt to escape from responsibility. Be a man - own up! And take brave decisions. On your insistence, Misbah ul Haq is finally in New Zealand. Can you be gutsy enough to drop Malik and replace with Misbah? Or even Faisal Iqbal for that matter? Lets wait till Wellington. In the meantime, have fun with the fielding drills :)

1 comment:

  1. imran farhat dropped vettori's catch in the first innings when he was yet to score, it was a straightforward catch. and vettori went on to make 99. so yes the fielding did cost us the match to an extent. but yes had the batsmen not thrown away their wickets we could have easily won the match.

    i think fawad would go out to make way for misbah in the second test. yousuf wouldn't leave out malik...not yet...