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Expect the unexpected in battle of volatile sides

cricket Updated: Sep 23, 2009 01:04 IST
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan’s win in the ICC World Twenty20 is an indication of the team’s potential. But no team in the world is as temperamental and therefore nobody knows which mood the team is going to turn up in on the day.

Younis Khan (out with an injury) has tried hard to give it some direction and has partly succeeded, but even he knows that as long as he is doing well the team will listen to him. But as soon as he starts to fail and the team loses, others will be looking to take his place.

Palace coups are a regular feature and so there are resignations and retirements galore but hardly anybody, including the players, take these seriously.

What helps Pakistan is the inclusion of some raw youngsters who know nothing better than playing cricket and are far removed from the intrigues of the dressing room.

In the ICC World Twenty20, it was the young Mohammad Aamer who bowled splendidly to rock the opposition batsmen and now they have Kamran Akmal’s younger brother who is batting brilliantly and scoring rapidly.

The senior brother is also no slouch with the bat but at the moment is not interested in captaincy, and so is not distracted by the events around him.

The team’s anxiety will be the form of Misbah-ul Haq. He hasn’t quite lived up to the promise of the big shots that he displayed in the first World Twenty20 which India won, thanks to an ill-advised shot from him.

If Misbah can take that out of his mind, he can make a difference as he has the shots and the power to play them at will.

Pakistan have done well by going early to South Africa to get used to the pitches and conditions and they will also have the advantage of playing a group game before the big one against traditional rivals India.

The West Indies are a second-string team what with the failure of talks between the Board and players’ association. It may well be a bit too much for the players suddenly thrown into the whirlpool of big cricket.

It is a pity because last year the West Indies were looking as if they were turning the corner with good performances against England at home and had a top core group of players along with a few keen youngsters.

The pace attack was also looking sharp and they looked a side to watch out for.

Unfortunately, the spat has been a big setback and even if it is settled, it may well be some time before they are a formidable unit again. It’s a game between two utterly unpredictable teams and the team that comes with cricket on its mind should win.