Friday, July 16, 2010

Watch Cricket, People!

Now that the hype of the World Cup is starting to blow over, cricket has once again begun to take center stage in Pakistan. Very quietly Pakistan broke their awful losing streak to the mighty Australians by winning the two T20 matches and showed no signs of the scars we all bear after Hussey’s miraculous effort to knock Pakistan out of the World Cup. That gave the team the confidence they needed heading into the test arena, where the statistics send a shudder down every Pakistani’s spine. The last time Pakistan managed to avoid defeat by drawing Australia was back in 1999, and they last outright beat Australia in 1995. Pakistan came close in their tour down under this past winter in the infamous Sydney Test, but the collapse from that position has been well documented.

So why am I hyping up this latest Test where Pakistan needs 440 runs to win in the second innings? After all, this is the same side that got bowled out for a measly 148in the first innings. The reason is simple, umeed pay dunya kaim hai (the world is running on hope). This losing streak has to come to end sometime, why not now? At the close of the third days play Pakistan were 114/1. Our best batsmen of late Salman Butt is at the crease unbeaten on 58 and getting good support from one of the debutants, Azhar Ali. 440 might seem like a daunting number, but that’s not the way to look at it. There are 6 sessions left so time is not an issue, Pakistan have 9 wickets in hand and need 326 runs to win. The conditions have much improved for batting, the green tinge on the Lord’s wicket has faded, the clouds have disappeared and the ball isn’t moving as much. The new Australian spinner Steve Smith shouldn’t cause much trouble, he has good control but the Pakistani batsmen have always been good players of spin and Danish Kaneria should have given them much practice in the nets. The meat of the batting order is yet to come: the Akmal brother and captain fantastic.

Before you dismiss my eternal optimism and go watch movies at Cinepax instead of this test match, take a moment to soak in the situation. Pakistan has a shot, albeit it a long shot, of beating Australia at the home of cricket, Lord’s. Sorry Mom, I’m going to pass on family stuff this weekend, I will be rooted to the couch!

4 comments:

  1. Hope you're right but these unfit players have a way of shattering almost all hope, though they also have a way of restoring it.

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  2. Its nice to see that someone else shares the same kind of optimism about our team like I do. I personally get a lot of stick from a lot of people for being so optimistic and expecting wonders from the team. And very unfortunately, very often in the years gone by, I have been infact left disappointed at the end. The results haven't gone our way, and our team has failed to emerge victorious from such situations.

    Yes, the criticism's there; the board structure, the team selections, the management, the players etc, but then, at the end of it all, it is our team. And despite everything, I really do believe that they have immense potential and have the ability to produce top class performances at the top level. Quite honestly, I have seen a lot of fight, a lot of effort from them recently, especially in the last few matches they've played. Yes, some results haven't gone our way; the semifinal against Australia in the T20 World Cup (that was just pure luck more than anything else...we didn't put a foot wrong that day, but as they say, "Allah nay qismat mein nahin likha hua tha), and the matches in the Asia Cup were close finishes too. There were flaws there, fielding being the main one (as has been the case since forever), followed by batting collapses. But still, they were close finishes and you could feel that they really did give it a go. They made an effort to win. And then finally, the breakthrough came; some joy, some revenge on the Australians in the two Twenty Twenty matches that we played earlier this month. Two good performances and two fantastic wins.

    As for this current test match; I agree with you 100%. Umeed pe dunya qaim hai. You're spot on when you say:
    "This losing streak has to come to end sometime, why not now? At the close of the third days play Pakistan were 114/1. Our best batsmen of late Salman Butt is at the crease unbeaten on 58 and getting good support from one of the debutants, Azhar Ali. 440 might seem like a daunting number, but that’s not the way to look at it. There are 6 sessions left so time is not an issue, Pakistan have 9 wickets in hand and need 326 runs to win."
    "...The meat of the batting order is yet to come: the Akmal brother and captain fantastic."

    That's exactly it. Yes, we're hoping for a miracle. Yes, its never been done before, but then again, isn't history there to be broken? That highest successful run chase in a test match, 418, by the West Indies was against Australia too, wasn't it? Australia were well and truely on top of their game at that time too.

    I'm not setting my sights too far for this one. The way I look at it, take it session by session. Do what you were doing yesterday in the last session; bat sensibly, keep wickets intact, and just put away the bad balls without taking any undue risks. Time is not an issue. There are six sessions remaining.
    Regardless of what the outcome of this match turns out to be, I want to see a fight. I want to see that our team fought and tried to go for it.

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  3. I'd like some of what you were smoking when you wrote this.

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  4. right side of the riverJuly 17, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Just a slight correction. The last time we got a draw against Australia in a Test was 1998 in Pakistan. For the last drawn Test in Australia you have to go back to 1990.

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