Pakistan vs Canada: Will cricket fans ever be satisfied?
Pakistan have played three matches this World Cup and have won all three! What more do you want?
"Drop Ahmed Shehzad."
"Make Kamran Akmal open."
"No, replace Kamran Akmal and make Umar Akmal keep."
"Wahab Riaz should be in the team."
"Replace Rehman with Saeed Ajmal."
"Replace Umar Akmal with Asad Shafiq."
Is there any other request that Pakistani fans want fulfilled? It’s high time we stop acting like the selectors of the team and focus on celebrating its success stories. Seriously, have they not done enough to make us happy?
Pakistan have played three matches this World Cup and have won all three! What more do we want?
If we understand the game so well, we should also understand the age-old captaincy rule: never change a winning combination. And never means never!
We don't have an opening problem; we don't need Asad Shafiq in the middle order; we don't need Razzaq to bat higher. We have exactly what we need. Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad have been one of the most stable opening partnerships that Pakistan have had in a long time.
Each of them has a century in their last 10 ODI games. So what if they haven't notched up big scores in the World Cup yet? We all know that once either one gets a ton, Pakistan will win the game.
Smarter than the experts
After a long time, Pakistan have a stable top six. Each batsman knows where they are going to bat and what their role is, and so far they have been fulfilling it well. Yes, they failed against Canada but that happens. We don't need to change anything in the batting order - it is a settled one and looks good.
And the best part about it is, if any of the top six get a big score, we know Pakistan will win the game. Why do Pakistani fans feel that Razzaq is being wasted at number 8? Have we forgotten his weakness against spin?
Razzaq's strength is in finishing an innings with a bang. There are very few batsmen that can demolish an attack in the death overs the way Razzaq can, and Pakistan have got him in the role that suits him best. Ideally, Razzaq at number eight will walk out to bat in the last 5-7 overs and that is when he will be at his destructive best.
Why do you want Wahab Riaz in place of a batsman? Canada showed us how our batting can implode and also showed us how our bowling is much stronger than most of our fans think it is. Pakistan are not playing an extra batsman. Pakistan are playing a well balanced side with five batsmen, a keeper, two all-rounders, and three specialist bowlers. Balance does not come better than this!
As for Rehman and Saeed Ajmal, I guess they really are replaceable (by each other). I don't think either is better than the other since both can do the job that Pakistan requires of them. For whatever reason, the team management prefers Rehman and we should just let this decision stand.
Pakistan versus Canada: We won!
Yesterday, Pakistan showed that they have the ability to come out of any situation, which is an amazing quality to have. Instead of cribbing about our batting performance, we should be harping on about how we fought back hard. It’s a champion’s quality to come back from the dead - whether the win is due to team effort or just one person is irrelevant. The best part about Pakistan's first XI that played in the matches against Kenya and Sri Lanka is that there are nine match winners in there, if not 10. We need just one of them to click for Pakistan to win the match.
Unfortunately no one clicked with the bat against Canada, but luckily Afridi hit it off with the ball and that is all that was required.
Younis Khan put it perfectly when he was asked about the low total. He said:
"It wasn't low, it was more than enough for Canada."
What a brilliant reply! If only the Pakistani fans were as positive.
And to answer the question in the title of this post - I guess we will be happy if Pakistan wins the ODI World Cup, but we should also be happy in knowing that this is also what the team wants and is working towards.
Let them do the work and decide on the plan to achieve this goal, and let’s just be happy supporting them and their decisions.