The team management needs to realise that too much experimentation and rotating players meaninglessly can backfire
Pakistan succeeded in maintaining their record of never losing a One-Day International (ODI) series against Zimbabwe despite some serious hiccups on their recent African sojourn. After a scarcely believable comeback in the second ODI, ruined by poor light, the national team finished the job admirably in the final match of the series on October 5. The second ODI ended in a farce, with Shoaib Malik denied the opportunity of completing a memorable century with the match called off due to poor light. But the Sarfraz Ahmed-led eleven kept the hosts at bay with a clinical performance in the series decider. New-comer Bilal Asif was the star of the show with a match-winning five-wicket haul. However, questions have been raised on the legality of his bowling action. One wonders what exactly has the PCB done to help those with suspect bowling actions in the domestic circuit, with umpires continuing to raise questions regarding legality of bowling actions of Pakistani bowlers at the international level. The PCB needs to look into this state of affairs immediately.
The other feature of the Zimbabwe tour was the less-than-satisfactory performance of the top-order batsmen. Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and ODI captain Azhar Ali struggled to hold their own and the trio would need to work hard, with their confidence taking a hit leading up to the all-important series against England. The selection of the playing elevens for the ODIs also left a lot to be desired, with in-form players sidelined despite delivering match-winning performances. The team management needs to realise that too much experimentation and rotating players meaninglessly can backfire, as was the case here. The positive aspect of the tour has been the development of all-rounder Imad Wasim. Apart from highly useful contributions with both bat and ball, what was heartening to note was his never-say-die attitude in difficult situations. In addition, there were notable contributions from Mohammad Rizwan as well as leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who seems to be coming into his own in limited-overs cricket.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.
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