Why Shahid Afridi must bat up the order?


Shahid Afridi

(Photo credit: R@VITH)

If one looks back and does even a very high level analysis of Pakistan’s batting performance over the last decade or so, they would know that how miserable it has been all this while and how it has gone from bad to worse.

Another trend that one could easily notice is that the aggression quotient has gone down substantially when it comes to how they have been batting in the recent past. And it is not natural for them we all know. From a side that the world knew as the most unpredictable, it has turned into one which the world knows with a good degree of certainty for their batting would fail.

While the history tells you all that, what it would also tells you, and there is a correlation going one here by the way is, that this change from aggressive mind set to a defensive circumspect one started happening about the same time when Shahid Afridi aka ‘Lala’ started coming down the order for Pakistan. It was considered as a damage control move but the reality is, that it turned out to be of huge damage to their cricket. Oppositions didn’t react of course, but they were quietly celebrating it all this while.

We must believe data and the data is shouting on our faces. On top of it’s voice it says ‘Afridi must bat top of the order’, because that’s where he is at his destructive best. Down the order he is a total waste. He isn’t someone who will revive a crumbling batting line up coming down the order. He is someone who best knows how to launch it at the top. And even if he fails then, their side has nothing to lose because anyhow he is not able to ‘boom boom’ at 7.

With the ICC World Cup in Australia just a few months away, the team management must take that call. Afridi more than anything is a mindset issue, and he should be allowed to set the mental tone upfront. Else ladies and gentlemen, keep watching the not so predictable Pakistan side, no harm, but then it’s no fun too, unfortunately!

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ICC World T20 2014, Back with a bang!


Cricket Exclusive

ICC World T20 2014Alright folks! So it was day one of the ICC World T20 2014 and it was all excitement and buzz. Something that’s much expected from all ICC Tournaments. It started with Bangladesh taking on the effervescent Afghanistan, and later in the evening Nepal up against Hong Kong. One could argue that the actual competition is yet to begin and this phase of the tournament is essentially minnows fighting it out against each other, but because these teams are playing to qualify for the bigger phase, in both the matches the teams were all charged up and raring to go.

First match of the day saw an inspired Afghanistan, coming from some good Asia Cup matches, against the home side Bangladesh. The atmosphere in the ground was electric and what’s fascinating to see in this country is the love for their home team. After an ordinary Asia Cup, the kind of response Bangladesh team saw was amazing, the most resilient crowds that we’ll ever come across. The painted lions were all roaring.

Bangladesh didn’t disappoint their fans this time and riding on their spin power, easily triumphed the Afghans who got the t20 theory rub on them a bit too much. They played too many big shots too early. ‘Everything has to go out of the park boys’ looked like the theme of their team. I am sure they’ll realise it as they play more games at this level that it ‘s not all bang bang and 20 overs are still to be played.

The second match which promised to be a better contest, turned out to be rather one sided. Again the side with good spin options came out victorious. Nepal’s spinners with the kind of bite their deliveries offered were too sharp to handle for the Hong Kong batsmen. Nepal looks a very promising side, with some really handy players.

Very early in this tournament, with the kind of turn and bounce we saw from the pitch, it looks like spinners are going to play a huge role in shaping big games. It may not be the batsman’s game all the way.

Watch out for the Ajmals, Naraines, Ashwins and Tahirs of the world!