Overconfidence cost Pakistan
For Pakistan the problem lies with team selection and poor planning. We clearly underestimated the English side.
" Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you. "
Pakistan were clearly overconfident when the ODI series between England and Pakistan started but forgot that overconfidence precedes carelessness. Perhaps they underestimated the English side as did everyone else, they lead the four match series 2-0. Who would have thought things will turn around within a week?
For Pakistan the problem lies with the team selection and poor planning. England didn't bring drastic changes to their team for the ODI's and just included specialists Ravi Bopara and C Kieswetter while one all-rounder Samit Patel.
Pakistan on the other hand had to clue with the team selection. Shoaib Malik was included in the squad on the request of Misbahul Haq, and to accommodate him Pakistan shuffled the whole team for the first ODI match. They went in with Umar Akmal as a wicket keeper, dropping the in-form Abdur Rehman, and playing Wahab Riaz to make up for Malik's position as a spinning all-rounder who was batting as low as number eight.
Even if Malik had to play, Pakistan could have gone in with Abdur Rehman instead of Wahab Riaz, as England's vows against spin bowling were obvious during the Test match series. Pakistan did play with five spin bowlers during the third ODI against Bangladesh, who played spin better than England.
Here's what ensued: England scored 260/7 in 50 overs, Wahab Riaz was totally out of sorts, Shoaib Malik bowled just five overs and scored seven runs of 23 balls, Umar Akmal came to bat with a backache and Pakistan lost by 130 runs.
For the second ODI, Pakistan dropped Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq bringing in Aizaz Cheema, Abdur Rehman, and Azhar Ali. The last two were sensible moves which Pakistan should have taken during the previous match but instead chose to go with Umar Akmal as wicket keeper.
With four top class spinners in the team, Pakistan played a non-specialist wicket keeper who gave a poor performance behind the stumps, dropping two catches (one of Cook) who was at 28. He went on to score another century and the other dropped catch (Eoin Morgan) scored a crucial 25 and remained not-out.
While selecting the team Pakistan also forgot that they had Hammad Azam in the team who is a right arm medium pace bowler and a handy lower-middle order batsman; he would have served well instead of Aizaz Cheema. Pakistan had seven batsman, four pure tail-enders but nothing in between.
When Shahid Afridi was bowled out by James Andersen, Pakistan required 44 of 34 balls, but had no one to support Misbahul Haq. We lost the match by 20 runs - a match which we could have easily won.
For some reason, the Pakistani management has been hesitant to play Hammad Azam in the team, perhaps because he is capable enough to take over the all rounder's slot which has been occupied by underperforming Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik and on some occasions Sohail Tanvir. We are a well-balanced test side, but look totally imbalanced when it comes to ODI matches.
There are a few slots that need to be filled especially in the opening partnership. Pakistan need someone who can stay out there and play long. They need a young performing all-rounder in the lower-middle order who could bowl economical overs and score precious runs, but more importantly a quick genuine fast-bowler who could rip through batting line ups on these slow, low pitches.
All is not lost. Pakistan still have two ODI matches to go and can level the series. But this defeat is surely a wake up call for Pakistan.