The celebration in the West Indies has taken a full week’s circle and ‘Gangnam style’ has been emulated in Chris Gayle fashion throughout the Caribbean Islands. Some of the top performers at the World T20have had seamless transitioned into the Champions League T20 and have continued their good run on the fast, bouncy wickets in South Africa.
Australia’s Shane Watson, the man of the tournament at the World T20, looks like he’s still batting on a Colombo wicket, Sunil Narine is a threat even with the little help that Supersport Park’s surface offers and the performance of India’s Umesh Yadav makes one wonder why he was not part of MS Dhoni’s plans.
For the Pakistan fans, Raza Hasan and Bilawal Bhatti’s outings for the Sialkot Stallions, once again give testament to the fact that there is plenty in the mill to provide for the national team.
Shahid Afridi has appeared in Hampshire colours but even the pressure-less fixtures in the CL T20 have been unable to arrest his downward slide.
The Pakistan fans and media seem to be still hung up with the disappointment of the World T20 and it is clear that the fireworks in South Africa are unlikely to change that.
However, with the passage of time the emotions should now come in balance with rationale and it is perhaps time to objectively dissect the performance of Mohammad Hafeez’s men.
Mohammad Hafeez: 6.5/10 (Batting: 164 Runs, S.R 98.2) (Bowling: 5 Wickets, Econ 5.94) Ex Pakistani cricketers typically criticised Hafeez for his captaincy and senior teammate Abdul Razzaq openly blamed him for his ouster from the playing XI in the all important semi-final. He was miser with the ball in his hand and steady with the bat, becoming the highest run accumulator for his team. His strike rate was poor and induced a collapse at the other end at times but provided foil for it on other occasions, either way it appeared as a part of the plan in place. As a captain, his decision-making reminded one of Misbah-ul-Haq, particularly during the early stages of the event. His reluctance to attack with Saeed Ajmal, especially in the power play, and not keeping him going when he was taking wickets was clearly muddled thinking. He was also found shy of bringing himself on early, surprising keeping in mind his recent success with the new ball.
Imran Nazir: 5/10 (Batting: 153 Runs, S.R 150) Patience and maturity are virtues that are associated with age and experience but Nazir has done well to stave all of that off. His best performances of late have only come in domestic T20 leagues. The selectors and ‘experts’ alike have fought his case based on those performances, fully aware of the vast bridge that exists between domestic and international cricket. The T20 format gives him the license to play his game but unfortunately he managed to shine only once which earned him the M.O.M against Bangladesh.
Nasir Jamshed: 7/10 (Batting: 148 Runs, S.R 134.54) He made two out of the total of three half centuries scored by his entire team, both contributing to good wins. He is touted as the most promising find in Pakistan’s fragile batting line up but his technique is yet to be tested in alien conditions outside the continent. A close eye will be kept on the progress of this prodigy. Fitness and fielding skills need vast improvement.
Kamran Akmal: 4/10 (Batting: 64 Runs, S.R 110.34) (Keeping: 1 Catch, 2 Stumping) He broke back into the side in place of Sarfraz Ahmed and Adnan Akmal on the basis of his potentially explosive batting at the top of the order. He continued to come ahead of specialist batsmen in the lineup only to disappoint each time. It was business as usual behind the stumps, dropping more catches than he was able to glove cleanly.
Shoaib Malik: 4/10 (Batting: 59 Runs, S.R 90.76) (Bowling: 2 Overs, 19 runs, 0 wickets) Known for being level headed and having the ability to steady ship when required, Malik was cast in the middle order. He was given plenty of opportunity to become a savior but squandered all of them. With enough spin artillery in Pakistan’s cavalry his bowling services add little value and thus are sparingly used. His value through the tournament was only decorative novelty.
Umar Akmal: 7/10 (Batting: 125 Runs, S.R. 120.19) He looked like the best batsmen in the Pakistani lineup but kept coming down the order which limited his impact on matches. In six matches, Umar was only dismissed twice. Ideally, the plan should be to put your finest first in order to avoid a crisis situation or place them where they can manage one. While most other countries played with head heavy batting lineups, Pakistan underutilized its most talented batting asset.