Windies tour: Another dream shattered
The dream of recording the first ever Test series win in the Caribbean for Pakistan was shattered on Sunday after the greens lost by 40 runs.
Many of us were sure that Misbahul Haq would be the one to succeed where the great Imran Khan failed. But sadly, it was not to be.
A track that must have given bowlers worldwide hope and righted some of the travesties done to them over the past decade - coupled with an inept umpire - made sure that Pakistan ended up in the dumps.
The World Cup left no doubt over the ineptitude of Asoka De Silva as an outfield umpire but it was shocking to see that he couldn't make right decisions even with the aid of technology. Chanderpaul should have been walking to the pavilion after it was clear that he had been run out. Instead he was granted a chance to forge a 49-run last wicket partnership, which eventually sank Pakistan.
But blaming the umpire as the sole cause would not be just. We let ourselves down with poor fielding and batting efforts. At least six catches were put down during the match, three in the first innings and three in the second, with the captain being the biggest culprit. Fielding has never been our forte with players believing that matches are won either with the bat or the ball, with catches being taken as bonuses.
Our batting was dismal and after being reduced to two for three in the second innings, it looked as if a heavy defeat was on the cards. Credit must go to Shafiq, Misbah and Akmal there for not letting that happen.
The role of a wicket keeper has evolved over the years and now teams place a premium on wicket keeper/batsman. Merely being a good keeper is no longer enough. With Mohammad Salman batting at number seven, we are effectively playing only six frontline batsmen and hence there is dire need to bring in a good wicket keeper/batsmen in the team. Selectors need to look at Sarfraz Ahmed in this matter. While the situation may also be used as an argument to bring back Kamran Akmal, it needs to be clear that the requirement of the team is a good keeper who bats well and not a batsman who keeps poorly.
Darren Sammy’s position as captain has been strengthened considerably after this Test match. Sammy is someone who distorts the balance of the West Indies team as he takes up the position of an all rounder. It would be hard to fit him in the squad had he not been the captain of the side. Nonetheless, he bagged eight wickets in this match with his gentle medium pacers which just goes to show our lack of batting skills on a bowler-friendly pitch.
Pakistan’s bowling effort in contrast to the batting was excellent. Ajmal took his first 10 wickets in a Test match and weaved such a magical web that no West Indian batsman, including the experienced Chanderpaul and Sarwan, looked comfortable against him. Pace bowling was a bit below par though and therefore needs some improvement. Umar Gul needs to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with even in Test matches.
Pakistan and West Indies played some cracking series back in the 80s and 90s when they had some of the greatest cricketers amongst their ranks. But sadly, both teams have fallen from their perch with West Indies’ decline being sharper. Both teams are looking to rebuild and blood some youngsters. Let’s hope sooner rather than later they will regain their spot at the top.
As for Pakistan, their batting needs to improve drastically if we wish to salvage a draw in this series. But the dream of a first away Test series win against the West Indies will have to wait till the next tour.
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