Pakistan have ended up with more questions than answers after losing ODI series in South Africa


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  1. #1
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    Pakistan have ended up with more questions than answers after losing ODI series in South Africa

    In his latest article for FirstPost Sports, Saj reviews the recently concluded ODI series against South Africa which Pakistan lost by a 3-2 margin.




    It was never going to be an easy tour for any team but doubly so for a sub-continental side like Pakistan, which was expected to struggle in the face of pace-friendly conditions in South Africa.

    The result of the Test series was in many ways an expected one and whilst the embarrassment that Pakistan felt at the conclusion of a 3-0 battering in the five-day format may have been hard to take for some, the fact remains that the current Pakistan Test side was ill-equipped to deal with the tough South African conditions.

    In a sense, Pakistanís current standing of number seven in ICCís Test rankings was justified by their dismal performances throughout the series, but by the same logic they were expected to justify their No 5 standing in ODIs in the five-match ODI series against the hosts.

    It could have simply been the case that this was a format suited for many Pakistan batsmen, who had indeed forgotten the art of constructing long innings or was just the sort of break and a fresh start that Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co needed to forget and hit the reboot button on what appeared to be a disastrous tour.

    In any event, Pakistan started off well by shocking the hosts with a victory in the first match of the series when they chased down a relatively tricky target of 267. Whilst the welcome relief on Pakistani faces was totally understandable, the puzzlement on South African faces was equally fascinating when one considered that the home-side lost just two wickets and had a centurion, Hashim Amla, in their midst as well. Quite why the Proteas could not muster a significant score points to a side which is still in the making as they look to fine-tune themselves for the World Cup in England later this year.

    South Africa, to their immense credit, did make a commendable comeback in the following two games which in a way owed more to familiar Pakistan frailties in batting and bowling and some vagaries of the weather. The fourth game of the series, however, turned out to be one that Pakistan took great heart from as they looked for a rare overseas ODI series win. Of course, the controversy sparked by the Pakistan captainís derogatory remarks was not what the doctor ordered for the visiting side, but it did cast a shadow on what could have been a successful series of performances for the Pakistan side. But true to their unpredictable nature, Pakistan duly lost the series decider with the hosts taking the final game in a convincing manner, winning by seven wickets.

    With the World Cup fast approaching, the aim for all cricketing nations behind playing ODI series apart from moving up the rankings ladder is to attempt to put a final shape to the squads for ICCís marquee event. With that goal in mind, despite best intentions, it would appear that Pakistan have ended up with more questions than answers during the ODI series against South Africa.

    Batting has been their weakness in most formats of the game and Imam-ul-Haqís continued improvement would have brought a big smile on the face of Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz. The strong temperament that Imam has exhibited against some tough odds point to a bright future for a player who has been criticised for his selection due to family connections. His opening partner Fakhar Zaman had a disastrous Test series but seemed to come to his own during the fourth ODI, and then again in the fifth ODI in which he scored 70. Fakhar looks to be regaining the same touch that saw him hit a century in the Champions Trophy final in 2017.

    Whilst Babar Azam seemed to be enjoying his stay in South Africa as he exhibited in his attacking batting against Dale Steyn during the Test series, the fact that he remained far too inconsistent to be any major threat to the opponents will be a worry for the Pakistan management. The remainder of Pakistanís batting line-up performed in fits and starts with no other stand out performers, which cannot bode well for the future as it puts too much pressure on a few batsmen. Only Imad Wasim displayed some power-hitting skills, but the fact is that this Pakistan batting line-up is devoid of batsmen who can score at high strike-rates consistently, which could hurt their chances of success in the World Cup

    The Pakistan bowling department, as expected, has continued to offer its services in the shape of Hasan Ali and the fast-improving Shaheen Shah Afridi and along with the precocious talent of Shadab Khan. Whilst each of these bowlers are reasons for optimism for Pakistan cricket supporters, the real lack of penetration from Mohammad Amir is a concern, as are the sporadic periods of excellence of Usman Khan Shinwari.

    All in all, it was a satisfactory end to the ODI series for South Africa, who claimed victory with a 3-2 margin. It wasnít as one-sided enough for any side to claim total superiority, but obviously the hosts would be the happier side as they walked away with the trophy. For South Africa, there is still work to be done to allow them to repeat their Test form, but in Faf du Plessis, they have an ideal leader who can still put things right before the World Cup, as was demonstrated by his willingness to experiment with his team combination and tactics during the series.

    Resting Steyn and Quinton de Kock for the first two matches and the inclusion of Willem Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius in the playing eleven as well as asking Imran Tahir to bowl at the start of the innings are all signs that South Africa are still actively looking for the best way to go about business in ODIs with a special eye on the big prize in England.

    Whilst du Plessis can rest assured that his position as ODI captain is secure and will remain so for the foreseeable future, the same cannot be said with certainty when it comes to Pakistanís beleaguered leader Sarfaraz. He will definitely have his work cut out in the coming weeks to ensure that not only does Pakistan have a team combination that can challenge the very best in the world but also to convince his Board that he remains the best option for leader of his team as well.

    https://www.firstpost.com/firstcrick...s-5998981.html

  2. #2
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    Good article, I feel a lot of the questions are what most young teams face and there are some solid positives to take out of it. We know the bowling unit is good, potentially very good. We know the batting can do well but just requires Fakhar to be back in form and for Babar to start getting big scores again.

    The real glaring issue is captaincy/keeping and if it continues to cause bac kroom problems, the side wil fail more often than not.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    In his latest article for FirstPost Sports, Saj reviews the recently concluded ODI series against South Africa which Pakistan lost by a 3-2 margin.




    It was never going to be an easy tour for any team but doubly so for a sub-continental side like Pakistan, which was expected to struggle in the face of pace-friendly conditions in South Africa.

    The result of the Test series was in many ways an expected one and whilst the embarrassment that Pakistan felt at the conclusion of a 3-0 battering in the five-day format may have been hard to take for some, the fact remains that the current Pakistan Test side was ill-equipped to deal with the tough South African conditions.

    In a sense, Pakistanís current standing of number seven in ICCís Test rankings was justified by their dismal performances throughout the series, but by the same logic they were expected to justify their No 5 standing in ODIs in the five-match ODI series against the hosts.

    It could have simply been the case that this was a format suited for many Pakistan batsmen, who had indeed forgotten the art of constructing long innings or was just the sort of break and a fresh start that Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co needed to forget and hit the reboot button on what appeared to be a disastrous tour.

    In any event, Pakistan started off well by shocking the hosts with a victory in the first match of the series when they chased down a relatively tricky target of 267. Whilst the welcome relief on Pakistani faces was totally understandable, the puzzlement on South African faces was equally fascinating when one considered that the home-side lost just two wickets and had a centurion, Hashim Amla, in their midst as well. Quite why the Proteas could not muster a significant score points to a side which is still in the making as they look to fine-tune themselves for the World Cup in England later this year.

    South Africa, to their immense credit, did make a commendable comeback in the following two games which in a way owed more to familiar Pakistan frailties in batting and bowling and some vagaries of the weather. The fourth game of the series, however, turned out to be one that Pakistan took great heart from as they looked for a rare overseas ODI series win. Of course, the controversy sparked by the Pakistan captainís derogatory remarks was not what the doctor ordered for the visiting side, but it did cast a shadow on what could have been a successful series of performances for the Pakistan side. But true to their unpredictable nature, Pakistan duly lost the series decider with the hosts taking the final game in a convincing manner, winning by seven wickets.

    With the World Cup fast approaching, the aim for all cricketing nations behind playing ODI series apart from moving up the rankings ladder is to attempt to put a final shape to the squads for ICCís marquee event. With that goal in mind, despite best intentions, it would appear that Pakistan have ended up with more questions than answers during the ODI series against South Africa.

    Batting has been their weakness in most formats of the game and Imam-ul-Haqís continued improvement would have brought a big smile on the face of Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz. The strong temperament that Imam has exhibited against some tough odds point to a bright future for a player who has been criticised for his selection due to family connections. His opening partner Fakhar Zaman had a disastrous Test series but seemed to come to his own during the fourth ODI, and then again in the fifth ODI in which he scored 70. Fakhar looks to be regaining the same touch that saw him hit a century in the Champions Trophy final in 2017.

    Whilst Babar Azam seemed to be enjoying his stay in South Africa as he exhibited in his attacking batting against Dale Steyn during the Test series, the fact that he remained far too inconsistent to be any major threat to the opponents will be a worry for the Pakistan management. The remainder of Pakistanís batting line-up performed in fits and starts with no other stand out performers, which cannot bode well for the future as it puts too much pressure on a few batsmen. Only Imad Wasim displayed some power-hitting skills, but the fact is that this Pakistan batting line-up is devoid of batsmen who can score at high strike-rates consistently, which could hurt their chances of success in the World Cup

    The Pakistan bowling department, as expected, has continued to offer its services in the shape of Hasan Ali and the fast-improving Shaheen Shah Afridi and along with the precocious talent of Shadab Khan. Whilst each of these bowlers are reasons for optimism for Pakistan cricket supporters, the real lack of penetration from Mohammad Amir is a concern, as are the sporadic periods of excellence of Usman Khan Shinwari.

    All in all, it was a satisfactory end to the ODI series for South Africa, who claimed victory with a 3-2 margin. It wasnít as one-sided enough for any side to claim total superiority, but obviously the hosts would be the happier side as they walked away with the trophy. For South Africa, there is still work to be done to allow them to repeat their Test form, but in Faf du Plessis, they have an ideal leader who can still put things right before the World Cup, as was demonstrated by his willingness to experiment with his team combination and tactics during the series.

    Resting Steyn and Quinton de Kock for the first two matches and the inclusion of Willem Mulder and Dwaine Pretorius in the playing eleven as well as asking Imran Tahir to bowl at the start of the innings are all signs that South Africa are still actively looking for the best way to go about business in ODIs with a special eye on the big prize in England.

    Whilst du Plessis can rest assured that his position as ODI captain is secure and will remain so for the foreseeable future, the same cannot be said with certainty when it comes to Pakistanís beleaguered leader Sarfaraz. He will definitely have his work cut out in the coming weeks to ensure that not only does Pakistan have a team combination that can challenge the very best in the world but also to convince his Board that he remains the best option for leader of his team as well.

    https://www.firstpost.com/firstcrick...s-5998981.html
    Tbh people expected pakistan to do much worse than they did. The questions are the same too.
    Why can babar not convert 50s into 100s?
    Why is Junaid Khan not in the team?
    Why is Amir in the team?
    Etc.

  4. #4
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    Pakistan's only real issue is a useful keeper.

    The only position where Sarfraz can contribute effectively is opening but he's shied away from it so much, now Imam/Fakhar are a shoe-in.

    He can also play a decent role at no 4 following Babar, where he keeps the score ticking but again he's not there, Malik and Hafeez are more productive lower down the order...

    Instead he is sandwiched at no 6 or even lower when he totally loses it....an absolute wrong position cos he cant power hit.

  5. #5
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    It's been a bad few months. We've no chance of this lot perform so terribly in the coming WC. Just don't see us making much of an impact in England. From now until then there will be complete chaos within the PCB as always.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

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    Good to see @Saj credit Imam in this post. He deserved the MOS and the reason for Pak's competence in this series was largely because of his performance at the top.

  7. #7
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    Big question is why a proven match winner like Hasan Ali was not played in a series decider!

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    Interesting how the dynamic completely shifted from expectations of a whitewash, to expectations of a series win in South Africa. This series was a farcry from the disaster of the Asia Cup, where we looked mentally shot. Pakistan did dominate large periods of this ODI series and certainly punched above their weight against a team ranked 9 points higher than them in the ODI rankings.

    Also very interesting how the rondu crowd was banking their hopes on South Africa blanking Pakistan 5-0 and putting them in their place, and have now had to resort to India or England doing the same.

  9. #9
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    Players like Hafeez and Shoaib can provide a good lift if the team is doing well but to expect them to come and bat in pressure situations and deliver the game is too much to ask. Perhaps we can have Hafeez in the team as a finisher lower down the order but if Pakistan is to do well we need a solid middle order batsman to replace Shoaib who can be versatile and play in any situation.

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    Over all the tour was a failure, Inzi is the biggest loser here. Should have unearthed some new young talent from this long tour.
    Good performance from Babar, Imam and Shaan, although I expected even better from Babar, he should have scored some big 100s.

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    Should have given matches to young players that are performing like saud shakeel or Saad ali

  12. #12
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    It was pretty close series in ODI's that could have been in favour of Pakistan potentially had that 3rd ODI did not get rained out.

    What this series did confirm is just how much Pakistan rely on their bowling to win them games. If they are not at their best, they are probably not winning. Batting looked pretty good in spurts, particularly the top order but the trouble seems to be in that middle order which struggles if the top order batsmen get out. 5th ODI was a stark example of that.

    Imad was a big positive in that they found someone in the lower order that can hit it big towards the end. Hasan Ali can too and it also showed they need to stop using Shadab like that. Maybe he has upside to become a proper all rounder but he's clearly not there yet. They gave him plenty of chances to bat and he kept failing. Faheem has become pretty unreliable as well since he's not a big wicket taker and can't bat either.

    I'd expect Imad to become more of the fixture in the lineup than Faheem at this point with Imad being so economical and being pretty decent with the bat.

    I think this was pretty obvious even before but Malik and Hafeez certainly cannot be in the lineup together. If the top order fails, you cannot rely on them to carry the innings. Top order is looking pretty reliable and I think if middle order can become more reliable, I think Pakistan is really well off because with this bowling attack, you don't need to always give them 300+ runs. Give them enough and they will reward you.

    Most ideal WC lineup for me at this point:

    Fakhar
    Imam
    Babar
    Haris
    Hafeez
    Sarfraz
    Imad
    Shadab
    Hasan
    Amir
    Shaheen

    Haris at 4 is more reliable than Hafeez/Malik and Hafeez would be perfect at 5 since he could come in later overs and has the ability to hit big. And in case of collapse, Hafeez does have the ability to play longer inning than Malik and offers a more dynamic option vs pace/spin whereas Malik is mostly able to do damage vs spin. Hafeez bowling also gives you a solid 6th bowling option vs a team that has plenty of left handers (hello, England).

  13. #13
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    This has been an enigma for more than a decade now. After every SENA series, we end up exactly where we started and no one knows why!!!! Now go figure

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