Packing a punch with all-rounders
To succeed in the shorter version, all-rounders are critical. In an era where quality all-rounders are as rare as a dot ball in a T20 game, most teams try to convert utility players into all-rounders.
That is where Pakistan have an edge in the World Cup as they have two genuine all-rounders in skipper Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq.
In a batting line-up that features the wicketkeeper at No. 3, both men get little time to excel with the bat. An odd six or a cameo is all they can manage while coming in at the end of the innings.
But it makes them all the more responsible with the ball in their hands. Afridi has been nothing but exceptional in the first two matches. His nine wickets in the two games - five against Kenya and four against Sri Lanka — not only sees him atop the wicket-takers’ list but has also given a rocking start to Pakistan’s campaign."I am happy that I have been bowling well," said Afridi after Pakistan’s 11-run victory against Sri Lanka on Saturday. "I have always felt I am primarily a bowler. Batting is something like a bonus, so to come good with the ball is obviously more satisfying."
Razzaq, though, is in a more complicated situation. With Pakistan missing the services of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer after the spot-fixing saga and Umar Gul preferring to bowl with the older ball, Razzaq has to make use of the new ball. With a plethora of spinners to follow, Razzaq hasn’t even come close to completing his quota of 10 overs in the two matches.
The veteran, though, has no problems. “My role as a bowler is very specific. If I can bowl the first five overs well, it can do a lot of good for the team,” he said after a gruelling practice session.
“If in the process I get wickets too, it is good. Pakistan have the batting strength and will not be dependent on me and if as a bowler I can get wickets it will be nice too.”
Given his precise role, Razzaq can afford to take his batting woes lightly. “I think (No. 8) is the position for me and it will be nice if I can chip in with a half-century once in a while,” he said.