Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is the Aussie tour still haunting Pak?

Sharjah was the place where once upon a time a Pakistani win was confirmed even before the series started. However, it has been more than a decade since the last Sharjah cup was held. I remember a Sharjah cup held somewhere in 2003 just after the world cup got over in South Africa. That particular series was scheduled to be played between Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. But, with the 2nd Gulf War still in progress, South Africa backed out and were replaced by two other teams in Zimbabwe and Kenya. After that, I cannot recall any instance of a Sharjah cup being held.

But, security fears in Pakistan have forced the matches that were originally scheduled in Pakistan to be held in nowhere but Abu Dhabi or UAE. And recently, Pakistan hosted England for a two match T20 series. Opposite of what was expected by the Pakistan team, they had to settle down for a level 1-1. It was the same England that beat Pakistan in the 2nd edition of the T20 world cup held in England. And England should not have been a tough opponent for Pakistan to fight. All eyes were looking for a 2-0 whitewash by Pakistan which never happened.

Can anyone of you imagine a world champion team in Pakistan settling down with score of just 129 on the board? Of course, they have failed to chase down 128 against Australia in the only T20 game that was played. But, England is the opposition that Pakistan should hardly fear. And that too, Pakistan's track record in the Gulf has been exceptional. Is it because of the absence of Shahid Afridi that the Pakistan team fared so badly? The entire Pakistani innings consisted of just 2 sixes, out of a team that boasts of hard hitting despite all odds and any situation.

None of the Pakistani batsmen were found taking risks of any sort whatsoever. Not to mention that the English team also had just two sixes in their innings. But, that shouldn't matter as far as they have ended up victorious. Though Pakistan won the 2nd T20 international, their body language never supported the scoreboard. If not for the 5 sixes hit by Abdul Razzaq towards the fag end of the Pakistani innings, Pakistan were nowhere in the game. He was the only player in the Pakistan side to have maintained a strike rate of 200+ or even 150+ by scoring 20+ score. This time despite the presence of Afridi. This on one side suggests that the Pak players have still not come out of the Aussie trauma.

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