Yes it wasn’t the best of outcomes being a Pakistani cricket fan. But you can’t deny the zest with which the team has been playing lately. Shoaib Malik and his men have certainly earned their respect from our nation.
Their commitment to the game of cricket cannot be questioned one bit. There are numerous positives to take home from this tournament, and there is still so much cricket going around that I doubt the result on Sunday will cast a shadow over future prospects for the team.
Geoff Lawson has certainly weighed in with his best foot forward. The result speaks volumes of how he has managed to effectively rally Pakistan’s talent and discipline it to focus on what is most important. Perhaps his skills as an optometrist have come into play here. It has been heart warming to actually see a former fast bowler take charge of this side. Traditionally Pakistan’s bowling attack has been the vanguard of our cricket team, until recently it had become somewhat ordinary. With the coaching reins now in Mr. Lawson’s hands we can hopefully see Pakistan’s former fast bowling attack glory restored.
Umar Gul bowled superbly in the final. His total tally of 10 wickets in the tournament is a welcome sign of things to come. The time in the gym has done him a world of good. The best part is however that the testosterone hasn’t overwhelmed him in anyway and in every single spell he managed to impress with wickets or enough containment. You have to admit that a lean fast bowler always gives the batsmen something to think about. Every time Gul ran in to bowl you only expected something good.
Pakistan’s performance in every single department of the game has been quite impressive. The 3 months preparation has paid off quite handsomely. I can’t recall us dropping a catch in any of the games, save that gimme from Jayasuria that our newest bowler Sohail Tanvir managed to let go of. But in that same breath let me also state for the record that 2 minutes later he dismissed the prolific batsmen with a quick delivery that surprised everybody. A perfect comeback. Sohail has been a great find and will be a welcome addition to Pakistan’s wicket taking bowling options.
Misbah-ul-Haq, should be the biggest hero for us at this point in time. Yes he was there at the end of both matches against India, which didn’t quite end the way we wanted them to, but people give him some slack! He has done superbly on his debut and effectively cemented his place in Pakistan’s middle order. At age 33 he certainly packs a great punch when it matters towards the end of an innings. He has demonstrated his maturity with the bat on every opportunity. It must not go unnoticed that when other batsmen were struggling it was Misbah that actually held one end of the wicket up and kept the score moving along. He has a great flair for hitting as well. It is seldom that Pakistan’s domestic cricket will produce such a made to order batsmen. We just hope that the selectors give him ample chance to further establish himself in other forms of the game.
We must salute Shoaib Malik’s captaincy. In every match when it mattered he has made the necessary changes and employed the most practical tactics to keep the match inclined in Pakistan’s favor. He has led from the front throughout and been the most prolific run scorer with a hefty 187 runs in 6 matches, barely nudging Misbah who can stand confidently with his 175 run tally. When it mattered Malik steadied his team with the bat and seen them through to the end.
Malik’s mature approach to his new role as Pakistan’s captain has brought a fresh wave of change in almost every player. He seems to be getting along with everybody quite well, and is doing the best he can with his options. Every player seems to be quite comfortable under his command. It seems Malik has a good approach in dealing with his players. Thankfully we find great promise in his abilities to lead Pakistan, a good captain has been a long time coming.
Now in less than a week we play host to South Africa. It will be interesting to see how our T20 heroes adapt to the traditional form of the game. It will also be a challenge as a spectator to accommodate the 5-day version of this game, or even the 50 over format which lasts an easy 6 hours. But as Ian Chappell stated at the start of the tournament that a good cricketer plays good cricket in all its forms. The next set of games will truly test the player’s resolve to be consistent as an improved and promising side. Hopefully there will be plenty of positives to write home about.