Mindless batting sinks Pakistan
While Pakistan look to be too much dependent on a couple of players, India, on the other hand, do not seem to be dependent on a few individuals anymore, writes Javagal Srinath.Updated: Feb 20, 2006 14:37 IST
The current buoyancy of the Indian cricket team is both unprecedented and exceptional. The result of the just concluded one-day series also raises a question mark about the Pakistan team, which had a golden streak in the last 12 months.
While Pakistan look to be too much dependent on a couple of players for results, India, on the other hand, do not seem to be dependent on a few individuals anymore.
What I mean is that despite the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Irfan Pathan, the team managed to undermine the so-called dependency factor quite convincingly.
The new winning combination in Yuvraj and Dhoni is proving deadly for the opponents. Both the players pick the bowlers and tame them into submission. Dhoni's calculated assault on the bowlers left the Pakistan bowlers paralysed. Even a run rate of 8 to 9 runs per over was scaled without any pressure.
Similarly, Dhoni said once a good platform is created, it is pretty easy for him to go and play his shots. This mutual understanding and admiration for one another in a game situation is any team's recipe to become a cohesive unit.
Yuvraj has taken time to become consistent and it is really worth the wait. Once he started playing Test cricket, his connection to the game became much stronger.
Just playing in the one-dayers has its own negatives. Since the game is played at such a rapid pace, learning takes a beating. The players start believing that luck factor should play a big role than trying to do it through their own skills. Test matches teach you how to leverage your own talent and bring more meaning into one's cricket. Yuvraj has really come of age.
Pathan's absence was felt when seasoned campaigners Zaheer and Ajit were made to open the bowling. The new ball was sprayed all over in the initial few over and that is where Pathan scores more points than anybody else.
Using the early conditions to the desired effect with the new ball is also an art. Being accurate at the very beginning of the innings can fox the best of batsmen in the world. Pathan, not as fast as his senior colleagues, still purchases a great deal with the new ball.
There might be camps in the Pakistan team — one lamenting on the ineffectiveness of their bowling and the other talking about their sad batting performance. Deeper insights would certainly reveal that it was the mindless batting which led to the debacle.
Except for the first game at Peshawar, Pakistan batsmen have failed miserably, especially in the first 25 overs of their innings. There were few rearguard actions from Younis Khan and others but all they could manage were a few fighting scores. Few early wickets will force the later order batsmen's mind into a wicket saving mode, thus curbing any intention of playing a free innings. They never played themselves on to a launch pad to set bigger targets.
Pakistan will have to look deep into their strategies and gameplans. Bob Woolmer is a seasoned campaigner with a proven track record. But at times he seems to be implementing the Test match strategies in the one-dayers.
One should admit that Woolmer was successful in doing things right in the Test matches but the rapid paced one-dayers threw things out of gear. To handle South Africa or England for that matter is one thing, but to deal with Pakistan is quite another.
First Published: Feb 20, 2006 14:37 IST