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  1. #1
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    "Delighted to see Azhar Ali shut his critics up" : Mohammad Zahid

    In his latest blog for PakPassion.net former Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Zahid writes about Pakistan's resurgence in Limited-Overs cricket, Mickey Arthur's start as Pakistan Head Coach, Azhar Ali's captaincy, the decline of West Indies cricket and looks ahead to the Pakistan versus West Indies Test series.




    Pakistan Limited-Overs Team

    I've been impressed with the performances of the Pakistan Limited-Overs teams recently. The young legs have really made a huge difference. These young guys have come into the team and have shown a real energy and improved the fitness levels of the team. The fitness levels of the players have been a major problem in Pakistan cricket and exposed us in many a match. In a short space of time there have been a lot of changes in attitude, in aggression and approach and it's very heartening to see. In addition the boys are gelling and playing as a team and that also helps as in recent times that has not always been the case.


    Azhar Ali as One-Day captain

    I was delighted to see Azhar Ali shut his critics up by scoring the century in the third One-Day international against West Indies. He was put under a lot of pressure and it showed the character of the man after all the questions that were being asked of him by some fans and parts of the media. His captaincy and leadership has improved and people need to remember that it takes time to flourish and improve as a captain. I think Azhar's leadership of the team is improving and I think he is an invaluable player at the top of the order. He needs to be given time and support and I am sure he together with Mickey Arthur will lead the Pakistan One-Day team up the rankings.


    Mickey Arthur's influence

    Coaching the Pakistan team is a thankless task and Mickey must have known that when he accepted the role. It is one of the toughest jobs in sport especially with the divisions and groupings in Pakistan cricket and within the dressing room and beyond. There is so much interference from outside cricket and from the PCB hierarchy which makes the job a very tough one and credit goes to Mickey for the excellent start he has made. He is an intelligent man and someone who is battle-hardened when it comes to coaching international teams.


    Umar Akmal warming the bench in the ODI series

    Sometimes the actions of a coach can be a wake-up call to not only one player but the whole squad. Umar Akmal was called-up to the Pakistan One-Day squad and then he warmed the bench for all three matches. That's a message from Mickey to say that nobody is bigger than the team and players will not be picked to appease fans or people outside of cricket. It's also a message to those doing well that you will not be dropped just to make everyone happy and for the sake of it. Mickey conveyed a message that he will not pick players just for the sake of it and that is a message not only for Umar Akmal but all of the players, which is great to see.


    Dream start for Babar Azam

    I've heard a lot of good things about this young man from many people within Pakistan cricket. His reputation is excellent. The people who have worked with him say he's a very level-headed and quiet man who is not afraid of working hard. He has a good technique and it seems to me he has a good cricketing brain and wants to do well. The problem which I don't think will affect Babar is that once Pakistani cricketers start becoming famous and making money, it goes to their head and they forget their goals and priorities. What Babar needs to do is to follow the examples of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq and see how they have carried themselves and see why they are still around playing international cricket despite their age. Babar needs to remember you don't become a superstar after a few good innings, he needs to maintain his focus and then I am sure he will continue to do well.


    Shahid Afridi farewell match

    He's served Pakistan cricket for so long and in so many matches. I think the Pakistan Cricket Board should give him the farewell match he is craving for. The PCB and Pakistani cricketers don't handle farewells all that well, but let's see, hopefully the player and the Board can come to some sort of agreement.


    Decline of West Indies cricket

    It breaks my heart to see the state of the current West Indies teams. When I was growing up and wanting to be a fast bowler, the West Indies greats of that time inspired me to become a pace bowler and now look at the team. I have to say that whilst people blame the West Indies Cricket Board, the players are not entirely blameless. They were for many years an unbeatable team with legends but that all seems a distant memory now. I get the impression that their players are just focussed on playing twenty over cricket around the world and playing for their country is secondary. The focus is so much on twenty over cricket and as a result they have become a laughing stock in the other formats.


    Test Series against West Indies

    The only thing that can stop Pakistan winning the series 3-0 is complacency and over-confidence. Pakistan's Test team is settled and established and the West Indies team seems to be struggling with confidence and conditions will also be in favour of Pakistan. It would be a huge surprise if it's not a Test series whitewash and 9-0 in the whole series.
    Last edited by MenInG; 9th October 2016 at 10:46.



  2. #2
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    When did he? By scoring snail-speed century against a second-sting team?

  3. #3
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    He hasn't yet.

  4. #4
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    Most cricketers understand what Azhar Ali has gone through

    Which is why they are coming out with support

    Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Zahid now also joining in.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamzakhalid View Post
    He hasn't yet.
    For some people, he never will.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    For some people, he never will.
    We need to see long term to evaluate performance of limited over team. Not a long before the team was mentioned as Azhar's timid kittens.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by abc_to_xyz View Post
    When did he? By scoring snail-speed century against a second-sting team?
    Nice to know a SR of 92 is snail speed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arham_PakFan View Post
    Nice to know a SR of 92 is snail speed.
    Yes, when a junior next to him was scoring at 110+, not mentioning Sharjeel's SR. This is 2016, scoring 100SR at 350+ track is not enough. We have seen this in England.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamzakhalid View Post
    We need to see long term to evaluate performance of limited over team. Not a long before the team was mentioned as Azhar's timid kittens.
    Yes but credit should be given when it's due. Some just wait for a failure and then comment, which is cheap really.



  10. #10
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    2016 for Azhar Ali: 31 average, 74 SR with 5/11 matches with sub 10 scores. Definitely "shutting up" his critics.

  11. #11
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    Outdated ODI player, and hate people who taunt at others.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by abc_to_xyz View Post
    Yes, when a junior next to him was scoring at 110+, not mentioning Sharjeel's SR. This is 2016, scoring 100SR at 350+ track is not enough. We have seen this in England.
    92 SR is not snail pace regardless of Babar's SR.

  13. #13
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    Azhar Ali has still a lot to prove.

  14. #14
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    I don't know if Azhar is captaincy material but if not him, then who? Everyone was rooting for Sarfraz but all PPers went crazy in criticism of him after one slow knock and there was a lot of talk going around of dropping him for Moh Rizwan or someone else. What I'm trying to say is, us fans, we need to calm down a little and let them be. Give them a few chances. Azhar isn't a bad batsman. He merits his place into the side after that hundred. An example is of Babar Azam.. After his "failures" in England, a lot of people started thinking of whether he was even that good of a player and some people even wanted to drop him for his cousin.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Yes but credit should be given when it's due. Some just wait for a failure and then comment, which is cheap really.
    There should be a balanced approach. Neither to blame unfairly after poor performance nor to hype up the team as some rise of new dawn only after one series. Australia series will be an ideal opportunity for Azhar to prove himself, Under him we have lost twice to England, At UAE as well as England. Azhar needs to plan a better batting strategy as with himself, Sarfraz, Malik and Nawaz batting is too one dimensional, Needs to sit down with coach, figure out players who have the power game and simply select the best one.

    It is certainly unfair to blame Azhar for all the bad when an experienced bowler like Wahab goes for 110 Runs or Keeps bowling No-Balls. Let's see what he comes up with for Australian Tour.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by abc_to_xyz View Post
    Yes, when a junior next to him was scoring at 110+, not mentioning Sharjeel's SR. This is 2016, scoring 100SR at 350+ track is not enough. We have seen this in England.
    So?You claimed 92 is 'snail-paced' which is wrong.Yes Babar played better and faster.But that doesn't calidate your claim.

  17. #17
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    Two people I really respect ....one is mishbah and another is azhar ali...gr8 guys

  18. #18
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    I feel that the critics will never be off Azhar's back as he isn't flavour of the month for many especially in the media.



  19. #19
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    Azhar Ali still has to prove his opening spot, but he's doing a good job. He's been pretty consistent as an opener, and he's learning to play better as he goes. I will give him the benefit of having done so well for Pakistan as an opener despite not being natural at that spot. Will pick him over Hafeez any day on current form. On flat tracks, Azhar can be Pakistan's Hashim Amla. On more difficult tracks, if he can halt the collapse before it begins, he'll be really valuable to our ODI team. We need power-hitters in the lower order now, and our middle-order to constantly improve and mature.

    Lots of hard work and time is still required for our ODI side! We have a decent squad though, maybe not a world Top 3, but this group should be able to compete if they keep working on their game, especially their fielding!


    Have the players going forward, just need coaching&professionalism! #1 priority: fielding

  20. #20
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    Wasim said on TV that Azhar should be scoring runs against the Windies. So he got a hundred. People still have a problem.

    If he hadnt then they would say look he cant even score against Windies. What do we say now? Windies is hardly opposition etc....

    Shameful to say the least.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  21. #21
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    Good comments from Mohammad Zahid, indicative of a normal Pakistan cricket fan who would like to see his team and players succeed and not a wrist-slitter who seems to think that if Pakistan lose a match than the future is forever doomed.


    Politics trumps intelligence (pun intended).

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arham_PakFan View Post
    So?You claimed 92 is 'snail-paced' which is wrong.Yes Babar played better and faster.But that doesn't calidate your claim.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anfield View Post
    92 SR is not snail pace regardless of Babar's SR.

    SA/Ind/Aus could have scored 400 there. Having 90ish SR in such conditions was much political.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I feel that the critics will never be off Azhar's back as he isn't flavour of the month for many especially in the media.
    He may escape from NZ but Aussies are going to nail his ODI career down for good.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by abc_to_xyz View Post
    SA/Ind/Aus could have scored 400 there. Having 90ish SR in such conditions was much political.
    If we had good lower order hitters, we could have scored 400 too. Azhar Ali set the launching pad. And when was the last time any team scored 400 in UAE?

  25. #25
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    Azhar is one of the better options we have and Zahid is absolutely correct.


    Sadi rees kaun kar lau sanu rab na banaya badshah.

  26. #26
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    I have no issues with Azhar's inclusion in ODI's. I believe it will improve his test batting. But he is just not captaincy material at all.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by abc_to_xyz View Post
    SA/Ind/Aus could have scored 400 there. Having 90ish SR in such conditions was much political.
    Yes but we aren't SA India or Australia are we?And Azhar's jobe was to set the platform for a big score,which he did.Not his fault the lower order failed to capitalise.

  28. #28
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    He should be persisted with. He tries to scores quickly, not an outdated batsman, but somewhere in the middle, who tries his best to enter the league of the modern batsmen, which is good to see.

  29. #29
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    Did not really see any great improvement in captaincy against a pretty poor W.I side and i doubt very much his batting will improve once we start playing better sides again. Lets see how he fairs in Australian ODI series that will be a real test of how much hes improved as a captain.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arham_PakFan View Post
    Yes but we aren't SA India or Australia are we?And Azhar's jobe was to set the platform for a big score,which he did.Not his fault the lower order failed to capitalise.

    That was not big enough score for better teams. Its like Nasir Jamshed scoring 100 after 100 against BD and doing nothing against the top-5/6.

  31. #31
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    His triple hundred underlines his importance to the team but ODI captaincy will be tested in Australia.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

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