Cricketer-convert-commentator Ramiz Raja believes Pakistan have been unable to put on show rock-solid temperament in the ongoing five-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Pakistan were beaten in the first two rain-affected matches of series courtesy the DLS system, but Ramiz thinks New Zealand have psychological advantage and better planning on their side.
“Players have been unable to display temperament in the first two ODIs,” said Ramiz as quoted by Daily Express. “Bowlers were unable to take wickets and stop the flow of runs. Batsmen were scared of the short-pitched deliveries. New Zealand won half of both matches using just their minds.”
Former opener was of the opinion that Pakistan did not prepare well for the series which showed in the first two matches.
“After the Champions Trophy, no homework was done for this important and tricky tour,” said Ramiz. “Our wicket-taking bowlers were being scored off easily. What is the use of the aggression if it doesn’t reap performances?”
The 55-year-old lauded the Kiwis for following laid out plans in order to upstage Pakistan.
“Kiwi batsmen played according to their strengths and plans, and outsmarted Pakistan bowling,” he said. “Meanwhile, their bowlers used the conditions to their advantage. They troubled Pakistani batting line up with bouncers, line and length and pace variation. They bowled one bouncer per-over according to their plan.”
Pakistan batting fell like a deck cards against New Zealand bowlers in both ODIs with Fakhar Zaman (first ODI), Mohammad Hafeez (second ODI), and tail-enders Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali offering the only resistance with considerable scores.
Ramiz believes the worry of coping with extra bounce confused the Pakistani batsmen.
“Green shirts were worried about coping with the extra bounce in the pitches and lost their wickets cheaply,” explained Ramiz. “No partnerships were built and a lot of dot balls were played. Pakistani batsmen even gave wickets to Kiwi spinners who are club-level bowlers, while they were clearly not able to deal with pacers.”
Ramiz then made a tongue in cheek comment about the Pakistani cricketers.
“New Zealand is winning half of the battle psychologically. Each individual in their team is playing his role silently. Someone needs to put icepacks on Pakistan players heads so they can relax and decipher their opposition’s plans and the conditions and play accordingly,” he concluded.
De Grandhomme back for New Zealand
New Zealand received an all-round push in the ongoing series against Pakistan as Colin de Grandhomme was named in the squad for the remaining three matches.
The 31-year-old left the side to attend the funeral of his father in Zimbabwe, missing the ODI and T20I series against the West Indies, and the first two ODIs against Pakistan.
The all-rounder will replace George Worker in the squad, while chief selector Gavin Larsen believes he will give the Kiwis an extra option with both bat and ball.
“It’s been a difficult time for Colin and I know the group are excited to catch up with him. Everyone has been thinking of him while he’s been away,” said Larsen as quoted by Cricket World. “Colin has been effective for us with bat and ball and provides another all-rounder option.”