Sarfaraz Ahmed and co's immaculate planning, steely resolve shine through in Lord's win


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  1. #1
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    Sarfaraz Ahmed and co's immaculate planning, steely resolve shine through in Lord's win

    In his latest article for FirstPost, Saj reviews a stunning Pakistani team effort which lead to victory against a fancied England side.

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    The signs were ominous and the writing clear on the wall. The Pakistan Test squad was, in many eyes, a train wreck waiting to happen in slow motion. Large sections of Pakistanís very vociferous media and many seasoned supporters were of the considered opinion that the Test series against England would end in nothing but ignominy for a squad that was largely considered inexperienced in the art of playing the long format of the game. A Pakistan squad of such quality was deemed to be unworthy of a quality opposition such as England and genuine concerns were being expressed regarding the commercial viability of such a visit.

    Whilst the predictions were dire and uncharitable towards Pakistan, there was good justification behind such pronouncements.

    To start with, before the squad stepped onto the shores of United Kingdom, it contained no less than five players who had not played a Test match before. This possibly would not have been that great an issue had the Pakistan Test side not been recovering from the retirements of two of their most trusted servants, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. The duo had played a key role in Pakistanís successful trip to England in 2016 and their absence had already been felt in the 2-0 humiliation in a Test series against Sri Lanka in the UAE in 2017.

    The freshly-appointed Test captain, Sarfraz Ahmedís introduction to the long form of cricket, thus, had been disastrous. Many critics now felt that the trip to England would only re-affirm the mediocrity that was seen to be creeping into the Pakistan Test setup after the heady days of their promotion to the number one Test side in ICC rankings in 2016.

    For the team to emerge from such negativity would have taken nerves of steel and a resolve that would possibly border on the impossible if anything useful was to be attained from the Test series against England.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has had many failings in the past but one aspect of their planning which no one can doubt is the meticulous manner in which they scheduled their preparations for this Test series.

    Pakistan arrived earlier in England and played two four-day games under different conditions before playing the historic one-off Test against Ireland. The trip to Ireland was not easy and Pakistan won after a tough fight. However, contrary to popular opinion, the team of mostly youngsters who had previously had great success in the shorter formats of the game had used the warm-up games and the Test against Ireland as sound training platform to hone their skills; the results of this baptism by fire were to soon become apparent to an unsuspecting England side at Lordís.

    Buoyed by their home record and bemused by the quality of opposition, an England side playing in early summer at the Home of Cricket took on a Pakistan team which really had a few well-known names from the previous tour in 2016.

    The result to many was a foregone conclusion and a Test lasting not more than three days with plenty of entertainment for the home fans was what was promised and expected as eager crowds came to watch the first game of the summer.

    To their immense surprise and shock, what they found was a Pakistan side that was more than capable of holding its own. The re-education of the critics of the visiting side started on Day 1 when Pakistan bowlers took on the much-vaunted England batting unit with gusto and textbook discipline. It now became clear to all that this was no ordinary side but one that believed in its abilities and had the wherewithal to use those talents.

    Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali, two names that the ordinary England fan would have paid scant attention to in the build-up of the series, became tormentors-in-chief for the home side as they shared four wickets each to dismantle England for a below-par 184. There had been murmurs of discontent regarding the form and efficacy of Pakistanís leading fast-bowler, Mohammad Amir. But, in a matter of few overs in the first innings and more so in the second innings, Amir took the wind out of the England sails.

    Pakistan's batting, which had earlier been the subject of constant amusement due to its frailty, also delivered a lesson in the virtues of patience and diligence as expected from any top-level Test side to all but shut the door on a bewildered opposition.

    From the more established batsmen like Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq to Pakistanís younger guns in the shape of Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf, each player played as if they valued their wicket more than their lives to give their side the best chance of victory.

    And it wasnít just the basics of bowling and batting but the fielding where Pakistan took some excellent catches and saved runs also showed the newfound resolve in this young and energetic team for which the chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had widely been criticised for choosing for a series of this importance.

    Sarfraz Ahmed had copped a lot of flak from many quarters for his brand of captaincy as well as his own form but the Pakistan captain set the tone for his side with some exceptional captaincy and brilliant wicket-keeping which is exactly what the team needed to perform at its best.

    Pakistan harried, out-fought, out-skilled, shocked, surprised and outplayed England. Pakistan showed far more professionalism and discipline than the much-fancied home team; words that epitomise the philosophy of Mickey Arthur. Pakistan, who were given no chance by many and perhaps by some of the England players, were remarkably the better team in every department at Lord's and their victory was thoroughly deserved and savoured by the players. The young guns fired, the older heads steadied the ship, the think-tank got the preparation and the combination right; it was perfection.

    And so the action now moves to Headingley where a shell-shocked England side will hope to regroup and shed the cobwebs to try and retake the high-ground which will serve as an important morale boost ahead of further challenges this summer. For Sarfraz Ahmed and his jubilant squad, from being ridiculed as a team with no chance to becoming series favourites would have been a great experience. What lies ahead in the final match of the series is a supreme test of Pakistan's resolve and temperament, but as they showed at Lord's, it is a test they are more than capable of passing.

    https://www.firstpost.com/firstcrick...n-4484531.html

  2. #2
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    Was such a professional display. Really really proud, excellent planning has paid off

  3. #3
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    Very well written.

  4. #4
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    Good win, but still got a lot of work to do and need to be ready for England in Headingley because they will come hard at Pakistan.

  5. #5
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    Get Fakhar in & we are Looking @ a historic drubbing of the english ����


    Waiting for the day when there will be no p....i player in a green shirt

  6. #6
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    amazing win didn't expect them to dominate England, I expected we wilould lose to be honest. well done proud of the boys

  7. #7
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    I think here must go to everyone including Inzi and Mickey, who identified which player can be trained and coached, and who can give results.

    There are certain failings from Inzi and Mickey, which may be there , but they have achieved something bigger in their tenure so far:

    1> Getting rid of superstar mentality players like Shehzad, UA, and Afridi
    It was really no joke to get rid of these jokers, considering how much media pressure one has to face. Which Waqar was trying his best to get rid of these, but lost his job.

    Inzi, started with non including these players, and MA followed with keeping the standards high

    2> Getting rid of aging God Fathers

    MisYou did very well for last 6 years to Pak cricket, and their contribution could not be ignored. But they stayed an year too much. There was need of some high commanding selector to tell them when they should not be selected.

    Any other unmerited selector , who played 1/2 test matches may never do that.

    3> Other seniors:

    Other seniors such as Hafeez, Malik, Kakmal, Riaz, are also told about their issues at some point or the other.

    Out of these, I think only Malik is doing his hard work to be even considered.

  8. #8
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    + Whoever is crying in the media such as Sohail Khan, Imran Khan, Wahab Riaz, etc. that they should be selected.

    When there was a time they all got their chances pretty well. And it was media who then said why are we selecting them. The issue with Pak seniors is , they think that scoring 20-30 odd runs or getting 1/2 wickets can keep the place. Thats why I loved that phrase of MA that WAHAB has not won us game for last 2 years.

    As a senior you are expected to win games, not to play the support role.

  9. #9
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    MA ATG pakistan team:

    Asad Tendulkar
    Faheem Klusner
    Shaheen Starc
    Amir Akram
    Shadab Tahir
    Babar Kohli
    Imad Yuvraj Singh
    Hassan Younis
    Sarfaraz Dhoni
    Hussain talat Raina
    Nawaz Jadeja

    This is funny..!

  10. #10
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    Exuberance of youth carries no fears for Pakistan

    By Saj Sadiq

    In the crazy world of Pakistan cricket anything and everything is possible. In Pakistanís 66 years of cricketing history, there have been many occasions where they have won matches when least expected to and lost matches when they were expected to win comfortably.

    They have beaten opposition who experts felt they were weaker than and been defeated by teams that the cricketing world felt they were much stronger than. Chaotic, unpredictable and unprofessional are just some of the words that have been used in the past to describe Pakistan cricket. On bad days they are terrible, on good days they are untouchable. The Pakistan cricket team is a mystery, an enigma to anyone and everyone who follows the great game.

    At Lordís the Pakistan team got out of bed on the right side for the four days and absolutely dominated an England team that most expected to flatten the tourists. On paper it was going to be a no-contest with Joe Rootís men playing in familiar conditions against a team lacking experience, big names and world-class performers. It was billed as men versus boys and it was going to be a one-sided affair and quite simply an appetiser ahead of Australia and India later in the summer.

    "They dominated, bullied, harried, outplayed and out-thought England, winning nine out of 10 sessions."

    It was all going to be over in three days according to many with Pakistan going to Leeds with their tails firmly between their legs. However what ensued at Lordís was one of the most remarkable performances ever by a Pakistan Test team. They dominated, bullied, harried, outplayed and out-thought England, winning nine out of 10 sessions. Stronger Pakistan teams than the current one have come to English shores and been humbled and defeated, but this squad is made of sterner stuff it seems.

    The Pakistani fans at Lordís smiled almost in disbelief at their teamís remarkable performance. This was a young team that the fans were worried about and were concerned about and the thinking was that they could return to Pakistan embarrassed and humbled and criticised by many. But when the going gets tough and the odds are stacked against them, the Pakistan team is at its dangerous best. Sarfaraz Ahmedís young team was well-drilled, competitive and well-prepared for all that was thrown at them at Lordís by the opposition. They were ready, they were on their game and they were alert to the challenge.


    Only four of the starting eleven at Lordís this time around were a part of the Pakistan team that defeated England at the same venue in 2016. But the exuberance of youth carries no fears or baggage and so the likes of Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf showed the cricketing world that what they lack in experience they make up for in terms of talent and ability. Add to the youngsters, several players who have done the rounds in domestic cricket such as Mohammad Abbas and Haris Sohail and you have a combination of players who were too hot to handle for England.

    Mickey Arthur has emphasised that the preparation was right with six weeks spent focussing on the Test series against England. He is a tough taskmaster who pulls no punches when it comes to fitness and discipline. Arthurís approach has been vindicated and a much-needed breath of fresh air for Pakistan cricket which over the years has relied more on natural talent rather than preparation and discipline. Pakistan cricket needed someone like Mickey Arthur to come in, grab it by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake-up.


    The manner of victory for Pakistan will have been an eye-opener for England and will have woken a few of their players who may have expected a slightly easier start to the international summer than they actually had. They will look to bounce back at Headingley in the second and final match of the series which starts on Friday and Pakistan will need to be at their best to fight off the home teamís challenge.

    Pakistan will be full of confidence at Headingley and will be buoyed by a fantastic collective effort in the first Test. They will be forced into one change with Babar Azam injured. Itís expected that either Fakhar Zaman or Usman Salahuddin will replace Babar who fractured his forearm after being hit by a short ball. England have brought in Keaton Jennings into the squad ahead of the struggling Mark Stoneman.

    Pakistani fans in the Yorkshire area may have viewed the series with a bit of concern and trepidation but now with their side having won the first Test, their interest in the Test match at Headingley will undoubtedly have increased. Pakistanis in Bradford, Leeds and the surrounding areas may have not wanted to talk much about this Pakistan team, but now the topic of conversation in many Pakistani households in Yorkshire will be cricket.

    Whatever the result at Headingley, it promises to be another memorable occasion at a fantastic venue and hopefully a match that will be talked about for years to come.

    https://yorkshireccc.com/news/view/6...s-for-pakistan


    Meri Barbaadiyan Durust Magar...
    Too Bata Kya Tujhe Sawaab Mila...

  11. #11
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    One of the most enjoyable games of cricket I have seen for years.

    A complete performance by Pakistan. They hammered England, they outplayed them in every department.

    Felt good writing this


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    One of the most enjoyable games of cricket I have seen for years.

    A complete performance by Pakistan. They hammered England, they outplayed them in every department.

    Felt good writing this
    Plus no controversies as well for a change


    Pakistani batsmen - An endangered species?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fawad_wellwisher View Post
    Plus no controversies as well for a change
    There were fixing allegations, just for the English team though

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AssassinatedDevil View Post
    There were fixing allegations, just for the English team though
    Haha the irony.....


    Pakistani batsmen - An endangered species?

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