Thursday, January 7, 2010

Post Mortem of a Suicide Death

What happened at Sydney leaves everyone speechless. If you're a Pakistani fan, you'd be scratching your hair out in disbelief. And if you're an Australian fan, you'd be marveling at what can be termed one of the best come-from-behind victories in history.

So how to get started with the post mortem when you know it was a suicide. Clearly, as a neutral, you wouldn't call it an Australian win. Instead, Pakistan lost themselves. Their biggest opposition as has so often been said is themselves. And it proved so yet again. A handful of individuals excelled in leading the self-imposed opposition through sheer defiance of logic, extreme denial of talentlessness and a superior degree of stubbornness to stay firm despite obvious flaws.

Kamran Akmal. The lesser said the better. This was not the first time Kamran has been ordinary behind the stmups. For years, Kamran Akmal's buttery glovework has proved costly, in all forms of the game. His performance in this match is perhaps the Oscar award winner of all pathetic performances. Or maybe not. Knowing Kamran Akmal, the worst may just be yet to come. His eight-pack performance (eight-pack = five dropped catches + one missed run-out + two batting failures) is a stark comparison to Brad Haddin's nine catches, including the spectacular blinder to remove Salman Butt. The argument for Kamran's inclusion is his batting. How conveniently has everyone forgotten that he is supposed to be a wicketkeeper-batsman, and not a batsman-who-can-keep-wickets.

And what batting record are they talking about? Kamran averages 14 in Australia, 16 in England, 21 in South Africa, 19 in West Indies and 23 in Sri Lanka. Against quality opposition in testing conditions, his technique is hugely exposed. It isn't surprising that he has scored nearly 1500 of his 2550 runs in the 22 test matches played in Pakistan and India. The rest of the 26 matches have yielded just over 1000 runs at an average of 23. What an impressive batting record indeed!

He was dropped for Asia Cup 2008 after poor 'keeping in the preceding tri-nation tournament in Bangladesh. Sarfaraz Ahmed, his replacement, did nothing wrong behind the stumps while getting limited opportunities with the bat. Yet he was silently shown the door for the following series. A batsman-who-can-keep is the option that Pakistan seem to be following, even after years of disappointments. And if that has to be policy in the going future, Kamran still has competition. Forget Younis Khan the captain, forget Younis Khan the batsman. Younis Khan has kept wickets for Pakistan previously. Given Kamran's consistent failures, even Younis Khan can do a better job than this. After all, the entire purpose is only to 'stop' the ball like an average goalkeeper instead of catching it.

And what of Mohammad Yousuf. After whining in the media about how he deserved to be the captain at the time Shoaib Malik was appointed in 2007, Yousuf has done nothing to prove his worth as a leader. Day four of a test match. Opposition effectively on 80 for eight. A regular batsman in Michael Hussey - low on confidence due to a series of low scores, and also the fact that he was still batting thanks to three spilled chances. Yet what Yousuf does is spread the field like stars in the sky. Although Yousuf accepts blame for the defeat, he points out the incorrect point as the cause of defeat. Terming his shot pathetic that changed the game, Yousuf would have been much better off accepting that he was simply stupid in not attacking the Australian batsmen early morning. And if his statement that 'Ricky Ponting erred by batting first' was a slap in the face of his Australian counterpart, Ricky Ponting brutally knocks him down by saying 'I wonder what was Yousuf thinking with all those defensive fields'.

A target of 176 was never supposed to happen had it not been for Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal. So the fact remains - that a 13-man (or a 14-man with the inclusion of Misbah ul Haq) Australian team beat Pakistan's handicapped side by 36 runs to lift the series. Maybe ICC should intervene and do something about these 'handicap' matches!

1 comment:

  1. this definitely has to be the most painful loss ever..

    hopefully this will pave the way for Sarfaraz Ahmed and hopefully the PCB will realize that they should finally show the door to other non-performing so called senior batsmen!