Pakistan should strategise according to venue

It would help Pakistan’s cause to bat second. Let us all pray that the team stays united!

Saleem Asghar February 25, 2011

The much-awaited World Cup 2011 has begun with India being labelled the favourites. From a cursory look at the seven teams in Group A, it appears as if Pakistan can march quite easily to the quarter-finals.

However, the biggest question is not of the progress Pakistan make, but the strategy that would be adopted by the 1992 champions.

Pakistan playone match in Hambantota, two in Kandy and three in Colombo. Hambantota would be a completely new ground and the untested pitch will present a challenge even if the match is against minnows Kenya.

Pakistan should go into these matches with both the regular spinners – Abdul Rahman and Saeed Ajmal – to be assisted by captain Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez. Umar Gul should be included in the attack while all-rounder Abdul Razzaq can open the bowling, as he recently did in New Zealand.

The formation that allows for the inclusion of an extra batsman would ensure batting strength. Even in Kandy, as has been observed in the matches played there by Sri Lanka and my own experience with the Pakistan team in the mid-eighties, the pitch is slow with a tendency to help the spinners. In Colombo, however, an extra fast-bowler preferably Wahab Riaz should be accommodated replacing either Ajmal or Rehman.

The team appears to be on a high after a successful tour of New Zealand but pitches and weather conditions are totally different in the subcontinent.

The management must keep in mind the dew factor that will pose problems and thus the ball gets difficult to grip. Winning the toss becomes extremely crucial notwithstanding Afridi’s naive comment that the coin does not play a role.

It would help Pakistan’s cause to bat second.Let us all pray that the team stays united, avoids any scandals — on and off the pitch. The results would take care of themselves then.

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Saleem Asghar Former captain of the Rawalpindi Cricket team from 1970-1982 and manager of the Pakistan cricket team in 1986.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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