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  1. #1
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    Beyond The Boundary : Babar Azam leads the cavalry to the land of long white cloud

    Many thanks to @Bewal Express for his thoughts on the upcoming tour of New Zealand




    As we edge closer towards the enticing encounters awaiting Pakistan in New Zealand starting in December, there is a mixed sense of excitement and foreboding amongst the Pakistani fanbase.

    Babar Azam, Pakistan’s golden boy who has been accumulating more and more fans through his pure style and elegance at the crease, now faces the biggest challenge of his career to date as he stares down the spotlight that awaits him in Test captaincy. There are few jobs harder in World sport than being the Captain of Pakistan and results of recent tours suggest Babar has his work cut out, leading a Pakistan team low on confidence into battle against a supremely upbeat New Zealand side. The Kiwis are sure to be motivated to do better in front of their home crowds, which in the light of recent times will be a sight in itself.

    Pakistan’s overall record in New Zealand has been excellent for the best part of 2 decades but in recent tours the team has struggled to cope with conditions which are amongst the toughest in international cricket. The Black Caps usually play to their strengths on slow seamers at home and in recent times have hammered India and also had the better of England.

    Misbah-ul-Haq is already under immense pressure due to a string of recent poor results and another heavy defeat in any one format could well end his reign. Whilst many have been critical of the former Chief Selector’s selection policies in the past, the omission of Asad Shafiq from the 35-member squad for the tour which includes 2 Tests and 3 T20Is, has been met with a sigh of relief. This change will in turn mean that experienced fellow batsmen Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam and Haris Sohail will come under the microscope during the series as the pressure will fall on them to prop up the fragile Pakistan batting.

    As seen before, in conditions with movement and bounce, the Pakistani batting line-up has lacked the consistently and attitude to perform at the standard required to win a Test series away from home. And in this regard, feeling the most heat will be Azhar Ali, the most experienced player whose consistency has been lacking in recent times with a number of low scores throughout these away tours with his only saving grace being a face-saving innings at the Rose Bowl. Whether that one innings can propel him to back into some sort of consistent form remains to be seen. His failings as well as those of others on an all to regular basis gives the impression of a side that solely relies on Babar, creating a Babar vs the opposition situation, which will simply be not good enough against the abilities of a skilled and varied Kiwi bowling line up.

    The fact is that Pakistan batsmen will be up against a one of the best bowling units in world cricket. If they can somehow survive the swing and guile of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, they will have to face the steep bounce of Kyle Jamieson, and the bouncer barrage from Neil Wagner. Not only will it take skill on the green tops to survive but it will be a test of the ticker our batsmen possess. However, one feels that if the batsmen can put 300 on the board in Tests then Pakistan will be in the game.

    The bowling group chosen by Misbah-ul-Haq was as expected and in all honesty has no real surprises. Looking at the fire-power in the squad, one gets a tingling of hope going into the series, but let’s hope that this faith is not misplaced.

    Much of the burden lies on our talented quickies, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, to lead the attack and provide a consistent attacking threat to an experienced Kiwi line up. Both had their moments in England but in the end neither made the impression that we had hoped for. Naseem in particular struggled with consistency and if he has another fruitless series, he may have to go back to domestic cricket to hone his skills and consistency and could be out for a few series until the selectors became convinced again about his utility to the national side.

    With the 2 young guns, will be the experienced operator Mohammad Abbas. He looked dangerous with new ball in England in Tests but once the shine had gone, he looked harmless and didn’t provide the much-needed leadership the 2 young quickies needed. With the older ball he lacked the guile and knack of taking wickets and relied only on containment as his means of success. Whilst that trait is advantageous, this strategy looks to be a dead end against a side that contains the qualities of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and BJ Watling, players who are known for the patience and longevity of their innings. Premier Leggie Yasir Shah will also be keen to start off where he left off in England. For many the revival of his hard-spinning leg break was fundamental to his armoury and it will be interesting to see how Babar manages his senior spinner- both strategically and personally. Previous captains have notoriously been negative in their mindset and have not shown confidence in him, which has been abundantly transparent by the fields they have set for him. Let’s hope that Babar and Yasir can find a way to challenge the Home team.

    Looking at the Pakistan’s young guns on this tour, the presence of 2 youngsters in the shape of Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique is indeed a breath of fresh air. Haider has really caught the eye of many since bursting on the scene over the last few months in T20 games, as has Abdullah Shafique who will provide some healthy competition within the squad. Abdullah seems to have the talent and maturity to develop and this tour could provide the opportunity to accelerate his development in alien conditions. Another player who Pakistan fans are looking forward to seeing is Zeeshan Malik, he seems to have the stroke play of Imran Nazir but more worryingly, his temperament too. These new inclusions will hopefully gain some experience of new conditions on the tour through the Shaheens which should provide the required experience for them to become pillars for the batting line-up during the decade. The only batting selection that has ruffled feathers amongst the Pakistan faithful is the exclusion of stylish, left-hand batter Saud Shakeel. He has excited many with a string of strong performance over the last couple of first-class seasons which has led to many become strong admirers of the stroke maker. The lad should have been in the Test Squad but sadly it is not to be.

    Overall, there is grounds for confidence that Pakistan may pull off a surprise win in the Tests, but chances of success in the shorter format look limited to say the least. The Test results will be dependent on how we bat in the 1st innings and we showed enough in England to suggest that we can at least be competitive in the 1st innings and stay in the game and win at least a Test. The same cannot be said of our batting in the T20 format and a whitewash in the favour of the host looks like a likely outcome.
    Last edited by MenInG; 16th November 2020 at 21:29.


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  2. #2
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    Thanks for the writeup.

    Frankly speaking, my confidence in Pakistan Test batting is rather low. Mohammad Abbas is the best hope of restricting New Zealand to low scores, asking our batting to get to 300 on NZ pitches is a very tough ask.


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    Great writeup. I actually have more faith in our batting than our bowling, to be honest. Shan, Azhar, Babar, Iím sure these guys will adapt decently well but I am worried we will be unable to take 20 wickets in a given test.

  4. #4
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    I think our bowling will do well , our batting however will fail badly.


    It is either a heartache or a headache ..Argh relationships.

  5. #5
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    pakistans average score against kiwis in the last series in nz was 187.

    lets see if we can better that this time.


    It is either a heartache or a headache ..Argh relationships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Thanks for the writeup.

    Frankly speaking, my confidence in Pakistan Test batting is rather low. Mohammad Abbas is the best hope of restricting New Zealand to low scores, asking our batting to get to 300 on NZ pitches is a very tough ask.
    For me its now or never for these guys- This is not a young batting line up-these guys have years of Domestic and international experience behind them, they have to perform or they need to be kicked them.
    Last edited by Bewal Express; 17th November 2020 at 13:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JibranAnsari View Post
    I think our bowling will do well , our batting however will fail badly.
    Our bowling promised alot but the 2 young guys struggled at times in England and Abbas as i said in the article failed to lead once the ball got old. Its not that he bowled badly, but in the pressure situations you want the senior guy to step up.

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    Big series for Haris Sohail, if he performs I think Pakistan could be competitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shady View Post
    Big series for Haris Sohail, if he performs I think Pakistan could be competitive.
    Its a big series for all the batters- Babar to put a stamp on the team, and the other older guys to perform and repay years of investment.

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    Pak batters need to show character like Rizwan did in the last two series. Babar should learn to put a price on his wicket esp when he gets in. Just loses concentration quite often

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    Quote Originally Posted by shady View Post
    Big series for Haris Sohail, if he performs I think Pakistan could be competitive.
    Babar, Sohail, Rizwan and Fawad all need to fire


    "The Indian bowling attack is as devastating as the Teletubbies"- Sir Ian Botham

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    Babar has to score a daddy hundred. It's now or never. Didn't score hundreds in South Africa or England. Got runs in Australia but failed to kick on (wasn't really supported well from the other end either but still). It's his second tour to NZ and he needs to now start stamping his authority as a test batsman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JibranAnsari View Post
    I think our bowling will do well , our batting however will fail badly.
    That pretty much sums it up. In fact, that sentence could be used for most of Pakistanís overseas tours.
    Hard to see this batting line up doing much against the NZ attack in their backyard. We will lost the Test series easily, but might just edge one of the T20s.

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    If they can somehow survive the swing and guile of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, they will have to face the steep bounce of Kyle Jamieson, and the bouncer barrage from Neil Wagner.
    This is a very strong and complete NZ bowling lineup. Any SC would struggle against them. Our batting will be the difference between a whitewash or a very improbable win. All eyes on Babar Azam and the way he marshals his inexperienced team.

  15. #15
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    NZ are a top class Test outfit these days with pretty much all bases covered. And at home, they're nearly unbeatable.


    Steep task ahead for both WI and Pak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhenSultansBowled View Post
    This is a very strong and complete NZ bowling lineup. Any SC would struggle against them. Our batting will be the difference between a whitewash or a very improbable win. All eyes on Babar Azam and the way he marshals his inexperienced team.
    The batting isnt inexperienced. Most of the guys have been around for more than a decade.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    Our bowling promised alot but the 2 young guys struggled at times in England and Abbas as i said in the article failed to lead once the ball got old. Its not that he bowled badly, but in the pressure situations you want the senior guy to step up.
    we didnt bowl too badly in our last tour to newzealand , our batting however was shambles. if we score 130 and give away 300 , reflects badly on our bowling in perspective. Newzealand team isnt a batting powerhouse , they are good but nowhere near england , india and australia.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JibranAnsari View Post
    we didnt bowl too badly in our last tour to newzealand , our batting however was shambles. if we score 130 and give away 300 , reflects badly on our bowling in perspective. Newzealand team isnt a batting powerhouse , they are good but nowhere near england , india and australia.
    England ain't that good in test at the moment New Zealand are much better team than England

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    England ain't that good in test at the moment New Zealand are much better team than England
    In home condiotions they are very effective but Babar and Rizwan showed they too can battle in tough conditions. Any score of 300 will keep us in the game.

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    Good writeup, sadly I only see a 2-0 Test whitewash at the hands of NZL.

    Our seam attack is weak, with Abbas ineffective with the old ball while Shaheen and Naseem are unproven in Tests. Naseem shouldn't even be playing Test cricket now, he should've had two full seasons of FC cricket before being given a Test debut.

    While Shafiq rightly got the boot, Azhar is still hogging a top order position. Another poor series and I see him being put out to pasture.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    In home condiotions they are very effective but Babar and Rizwan showed they too can battle in tough conditions. Any score of 300 will keep us in the game.
    I dont think we will get 300 maybe 250 and we will be in the game

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    I dont think we will get 300 maybe 250 and we will be in the game
    Let's see, in England we batted well in the conditions bar the 2nd innings at OT. I would go as far as to say that the 230 at the Rose Bowl was one of the better PK batting performances in recent times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    Let's see, in England we batted well in the conditions bar the 2nd innings at OT. I would go as far as to say that the 230 at the Rose Bowl was one of the better PK batting performances in recent times.
    Do you reakon the conditions will be harder in New Zealand and you reakon pakistan has a better chance or no chance at all and yeah that was a very hard pitch to bat on

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    Do you reakon the conditions will be harder in New Zealand and you reakon pakistan has a better chance or no chance at all and yeah that was a very hard pitch to bat on
    NZ conditions are not always predictable. Sometimes if the sun is out,and the overhead conditions are benign, the wicket becomes very flat and then on the other hand you have the green tops with bounce and movement which led to the Indians getting a beating . I think we have to accept they have excellent bowlers but if we battle and get any score around 300, we are in the game. Whether I am being overly optimistic only time will tell, but I feel that we have a chance to win at least a test. NZ bat deep and that often wins games for them. I remember Wagner batting hours to save a test against England.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    NZ conditions are not always predictable. Sometimes if the sun is out,and the overhead conditions are benign, the wicket becomes very flat and then on the other hand you have the green tops with bounce and movement which led to the Indians getting a beating . I think we have to accept they have excellent bowlers but if we battle and get any score around 300, we are in the game. Whether I am being overly optimistic only time will tell, but I feel that we have a chance to win at least a test. NZ bat deep and that often wins games for them. I remember Wagner batting hours to save a test against England.
    I think we will struggle in New Zealand but I want swinging conditions I dont think our batting line up can get more than 300.

    If it swings I think pakistan have a better chance even thou thier bowling line up hasnt been that impressive.

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    This is going to be a really tonight serious for Pakistan. NZ are favorites to win 2-0 and Pakistan will have to play really well to try get a draw or possibly a win. I feel like the bowling will be fine even though thereís a lot of inexperience but the batting will definitely struggle. The NZ test attack is one of the best in the world (Boult, Southee, Wagner, Jamieson + De grandhomme) will all be a handful for Pakistan. India got whitewashed convincingly in NZ by an innings, not sure how Pak batsman will cope but good luck to them!! Hoping Babar shines on test captaincy debut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manzy2599 View Post
    This is going to be a really tonight serious for Pakistan. NZ are favorites to win 2-0 and Pakistan will have to play really well to try get a draw or possibly a win. I feel like the bowling will be fine even though there’s a lot of inexperience but the batting will definitely struggle. The NZ test attack is one of the best in the world (Boult, Southee, Wagner, Jamieson + De grandhomme) will all be a handful for Pakistan. India got whitewashed convincingly in NZ by an innings, not sure how Pak batsman will cope but good luck to them!! Hoping Babar shines on test captaincy debut.
    Indian results don't always correlate with our. In recent times Ind have got smashed in England and we have done OK. There is no doubt that the NZ attack is very good at home but in similar conditions in England, we were competitive.

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    Most probably this will be the XI :

    1. Shan Masood
    2. Abid Ali
    3. Azhar Ali
    4. Babar Azam
    5. Harris Sohail
    6. Fawad Alam
    7. Mohammad Rizwan
    8. Yasir Shah
    9. Shaheen Shah Afridi
    10. Mohammad Abbas
    11. Naseem Shah

    So talking about inexperience in our batting line up is not on. There are 5 guys around 34 in our top 6. And guess, the only young one is the only good one.

    What bowling attack are NZ going to play?
    They can't leave out Wagner; Boult-Southee are must and Jamiesson has to play with his current form. Are they going to go with 4 pacers + Santner? Probably yes, with Jamiesson and Santner both very capable with the bat.

    I think we should also go with 4 pacers.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobashir View Post
    Most probably this will be the XI :

    1. Shan Masood
    2. Abid Ali
    3. Azhar Ali
    4. Babar Azam
    5. Harris Sohail
    6. Fawad Alam
    7. Mohammad Rizwan
    8. Yasir Shah
    9. Shaheen Shah Afridi
    10. Mohammad Abbas
    11. Naseem Shah

    So talking about inexperience in our batting line up is not on. There are 5 guys around 34 in our top 6. And guess, the only young one is the only good one.

    What bowling attack are NZ going to play?
    They can't leave out Wagner; Boult-Southee are must and Jamiesson has to play with his current form. Are they going to go with 4 pacers + Santner? Probably yes, with Jamiesson and Santner both very capable with the bat.

    I think we should also go with 4 pacers.
    I think we should go with 5 man attack with shadab batting at 7 and rizwan pushing one up fawad or haris only 1 position.i dont see how we can include yasir hes Ineffective when the ball doesnt spin

    I would go haris sohail at 5 rizwan at 6 shadab at 7 fahim at 8 abbas at 9 Shaheen at 10 naseem at 11

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    I think we should go with 5 man attack with shadab batting at 7 and rizwan pushing one up fawad or haris only 1 position.i dont see how we can include yasir hes Ineffective when the ball doesnt spin

    I would go haris sohail at 5 rizwan at 6 shadab at 7 fahim at 8 abbas at 9 Shaheen at 10 naseem at 11
    This will be my team also, but not Fahim, if we go with 4 pacers we should go with a genuine bowler.
    Sohail Khan can be good for 15 overs a day in those conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobashir View Post
    This will be my team also, but not Fahim, if we go with 4 pacers we should go with a genuine bowler.
    Sohail Khan can be good for 15 overs a day in those conditions.
    The only I picked fahim was that he can bowl long spells whilst sohail is better and can swing the ball but I dont think he can come back for 3rd and 4th spells and continue giving decent spells.

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    Team with that fawad guy Abid Ali and Azhar Ali is not going to win the series but I hope Babar haris and Rizwan do well and atleast make both the matches competitive.In bowling trundler Abbas would be only good for new ball and won't pick up many wickets.All the hopes on Shaheen if he can pick up wickets the series might become interesting.2-0 is coming up but I hope the series to be competitive

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    The only I picked fahim was that he can bowl long spells whilst sohail is better and can swing the ball but I dont think he can come back for 3rd and 4th spells and continue giving decent spells.
    Amad Butt is a better option if we are going that route, especially if he does well in the A games. He is blowing brilliantly of late, swinging the ball and getting good bounce as well. He might get quick runs at the end. And he is one of the fittest players in Pakistan.
    Last edited by Arsal_AK; 20th November 2020 at 10:59.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsal_AK View Post
    Amad Butt is a better option if we are going that route, especially if he does well in the A games. He is blowing brilliantly of late, swinging the ball and getting good bounce as well. He might get quick runs at the end. And he is one of the fittest players in Pakistan.
    I dont think he will get a chance in the main squad but he is a good option with ball and bat

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    I dont think he will get a chance in the main squad but he is a good option with ball and bat
    Amad would be a solid pro at FC level, he isnt international quality and shouldn't be in this squad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    Amad would be a solid pro at FC level, he isnt international quality and shouldn't be in this squad.
    But hes a better option than fahim I would have taken yamin

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    But hes a better option than fahim I would have taken yamin
    Tbh none are international standard. Yamim is a decent bat and a 4th seamer, Fahim hasn't developed at all and looks to be going backwards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    Tbh none are international standard. Yamim is a decent bat and a 4th seamer, Fahim hasn't developed at all and looks to be going backwards.
    Yamin can swing the ball he would have been useful in these condition and is a decent batter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    Yamin can swing the ball he would have been useful in these condition and is a decent batter.
    I don't think NZ would lose sleep over a gentle medium paced swing bowler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamaan View Post
    Yamin can swing the ball he would have been useful in these condition and is a decent batter.
    the problem with yamin is his height , he is probably 5 6 6.5 and hence this makes him ineffecive in most of the conditions..


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    Quote Originally Posted by JibranAnsari View Post
    the problem with yamin is his height , he is probably 5 6 6.5 and hence this makes him ineffecive in most of the conditions..
    But that's were you have to pick players for the conditions example yasir shah should only play in asain conditions


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