Dangerous to go into the series with pre-conceived ideas

Published on Mar 06, 2005 01:12 PM IST

I have often wondered if Pakistan has enough batsmen who can bat whole day long and a regular score of 500 is possible, writes Javed Miandad.

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HT Image
PTI | ByJaved Miandad

I have often wondered if Pakistan has enough batsmen who can bat whole day long and a regular score of 500 is possible. Or bowlers who would not spoil two good balls with two full-tosses and long-hops. Is there enough quality at the top? Is there an all-rounder who is willing to make number seven all his own? What about the balance in bowling? There are questions, far too many questions.

Sadly, in search for these answers, we are barking up the wrong tree. Too often we quote that team is young and inexperienced. It drives me mad. Test cricket is not a classroom where you get admission to learn. Learning must end at domestic level. Once you are representing your country, you are believed to be ready. You are deemed good enough to pull your weight.

And by the way, who are the youngsters we are talking about? Yasser Hameed has been around for two years. So is Taufeeq Umar. Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi are not greenhorns. And Mohammad Sami? Or Arshad Khan? What about Shoaib Malik and Salman Butt? But for Mohammad Khalil everyone has been around for at least two good years.

Under the new regime of Inzamam-ul Haq and Bob Woolmer, five or six series have been played. I am not sure if there has emerged a single pattern which could indicate the team has pursued a line of action passionately. Either individuals have not been assigned their roles, or they have not fulfilled it. Most of the time you do not see individuals buckling themselves down towards the team goal.

Whenever a team fails, a captain is hauled over the coals. But a captain is as good as his team. He is run by his players.

During my time, West Indies had players who had talent and understanding of their roles. Clive Lloyd earned a reputation because of them. Inzamam-ul Haq is not the reason if the team has only won two and lost six Tests from the 8 matches it has contested since 2004. Everyone has to carry his own burden.

It is not to suggest Inzy should not have a strategy in place. But it is dangerous if you go into a game with pre-conceived ideas. I-will-only-attack or I-will-only-defend is not the way it works in Test cricket. Sure, if the first ball of a Test needs to be dispatched among the spectators, go and do it. But then do not lull yourself into believing that you could deal similarly with the next ball. Choosing your moment is important.

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