Salman Butt running out his infuriated skipper Mohammad Yousuf and rising star Umar Akmal at Hobart told pretty much the story of Pakistan on this tour. There has been a complete lack of planning, no urge to win shown (Umar Akmal being the only exception), shoddy fielding and uninspiring captaincy.
Not surprising then that Pakistan were blanked 3-0 by what has been rated by many, including credible voices, as an average Australian side. True, the unpredictable Asian side has produced wonderful performances when things have been extremely stormy off the field in the past (the T20 World Cup triumph being the most recent example).
However, this time the mess was just too much not to affect the side, what with regular skipper Younis Khan skipping the Test series, clearly indicating that all is not well in Pakistan cricket.
Among the many disappointments for Pakistan was the performance of the batters. Butt managed to strike one hundred, but his two run-outs really took away all the sheen from the performance while Khurram Manzoor, who was the only batsman to stand tall at Hobart, was brought in too late into the series.
A lot was expected of experienced men like Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal. However, while Misbah flattered to deceive, Akmal went from being bad to worse, so much so that he had to be dropped for the last Test. Even as he struggled with the bat, it was with his gloves that he was appalling, and that’s just to put it mildly.
He dropped sitters one after the other and the disease spread to the others too as the Pakistani fielders went on dropping catches. It was a pathetic show in the field, one which would have embarrassed even club cricketers.
The bowling performance was slightly better, but not good enough to trouble the classy Aussie batsmen. Left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamer was undoubtedly the best of the faster men among the Pakistanis. However, his inexperience came to the fore at various crucial moments in the game as he let the pressure off the batsmen.
But, he will definitely learn from this experience and come out a better bowler. Umar Gul was also impressive in phases, but it wasn’t enough to make a significant difference. In the spin department, Danish Kaneria picked up a five-wicket haul. That apart though, he did not do much to aid his team’s chances. It has to be said, however, that with better support from the fielders, they could have done much better.
Turning to Australia, this series will be remembered for the making of Nathan Hauritz. In all three Tests, it was he who bowled Australia to victory. Though not in the same league as Shane Warne, he is unquestionably turning out to be a match-winning spinner for the Aussies. And he was amicably supported by the faster men.
Left-arm pacer Doug Bollinger was the best among the Aussie pacers even as Mitchell Johnson kept on getting the much-needed breakthroughs. Even Peter Siddle, who had struggled in the last few Tests, came into his own at Hobart as the series came to a rather predictable conclusion.
No comments yet.