Old warhorses carry Pak hopes with a smile
After batting in the nets for a while, Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq jogged at the Asgiriya Stadium, the traditional cricket venue in the heart of this sleepy town. Amol Karhadkar reports.cricket Updated: Mar 11, 2011 00:15 IST
After batting in the nets for a while, Younis Khan and Misbah ul-Haq jogged at the Asgiriya Stadium, the traditional cricket venue in the heart of this sleepy town. This was followed by a fielding session in which bowling coach, Aaqib Javed, made the two senior pros and youngster Ahmed Shehzad, who was forced to join in, run for a while.
Still, Younis was not conent and wanted more. Not because he wanted to relax, but because he wanted to push Shehzad — he climbed on his back and made the rookie opening batsman jog for a few yards. Then it was Younis' turn to carry the chubby Shehzad.
As the duo completed a lap taking turns in carrying each other, one felt Younis wasn't just carrying Shehzad's load.
In fact, along with Misbah, the former captain has been shouldering the workload of the team's batting.
As it has emerged from Pakistan's four Group 'A' games, the batsmen cannot put up a sizeable total without a sizeable contribution from Younis and Misbah. In the victories against Kenya and Sri Lanka, the veterans were involved in a century partnership.
In the next two games, Misbah and Younis failed to fire. The result was Pakistan failed to cross the 200-run mark against Canada and New Zealand.
Though Shahid Afridi's heroics with the ball helped them cross the line against Canada, once Ross Taylor helped New Zealand put up a gigantic total on the scoreboard, there was no hope once Misbah and Younis perished early.
However, Pakistan's next game against Zimbabwe on Monday might be enough to get both of them going once again. The same cannot be said about Pakistan's bowling, though.
Chinks in bowling
Barring pacer Umar Gul and Afridi, the rest of the bowlers offered dollies to Taylor at the death on Saturday, which resulted in the Kiwis garnering a record 92 runs off the last four overs.