Debacle in South Africa

The most disappointing was performance of senior batsmen, including captain Misbahul Haq, his deputy Mohammad Hafeez.

Editorial February 25, 2013
South African players celebrate the dismissal of Pakistan Batsman Younis Khan (R) during the third day of the third Test match between South Africa and Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

When Pakistan embarked on their tour to South Africa, even their most ardent fans realised that it would require an exceptional show to even draw the Test series against the world’s top-ranked side. However, few would have imagined the complete capitulation on display during the three Tests, with the team recording its heaviest defeat of the tour in the last match at Centurion Park, by an innings and 18 runs, to end up being whitewashed 3-0.

After the somewhat encouraging show in the second Test where Pakistan held their own for the most part before collapsing on the fourth day, it was being hoped that the visitors would build on the improved display in Centurion Park. However, those hopes took a hit even before the match started, as Junaid Khan and Umar Gul pulled out through injury, forcing Pakistan to field a highly inexperienced pace attack, the immaturity of which was obvious as it struggled to stem the flow of runs. However, the real culprits throughout the series remain the batsmen. Their inability to combat pace, bounce and the moving ball is an indictment of their faulty techniques and the docile pitches they play on at home. The most disappointing aspect was the performance of the senior batsmen, including captain Misbahul Haq and his deputy Mohammad Hafeez, whose struggles were painful to witness.

Other factors responsible for the failure were the strange team selection, defensive captaincy and the lack of preparation for the tour. It is obvious that major changes will now be on the cards. A long-term approach is needed to reform the situation. We need to groom our batsmen to succeed on lively pitches against tough opposition. We also need to build up our bench strength as a few injuries were enough to expose the bowling attack. As the limited-overs leg of the tour begins on March 1, Pakistan will need to get back on the winning track to give their beleaguered fans something to cheer about.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2013.

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Pakistani | 8 years ago | Reply

I think we have to appreciate the grave challenge faced by Pakistan, not having played a test for such a long time before this series and then going up in conditions which were alien to many of the batsmen against the number one team in the world which has simply run riot over all its touring teams . These were not sub continent or UAE conditions.

They realistically never had a chance.

We have to stop looking at the short term, give the team more time to develop and start panicking every time we lose a series. Give the team some time to build for test matches rather than demanding changes every time we lose a series.

Daim Fazil | 8 years ago | Reply

Its been 17 years that I am watching cricket continuously. However, it is amazing and disgusting to say that Green shirts have only won 1 test against Australia and 2 against South Africa, in these 17 years. But Australia and South Africa both have defeated us not only at their home grounds but also at the dead slow pitches of Sub-continent and U.A.E. We used to say Indian that they are "Lions of Home", but what really we are? Neither lions at home nor in abroad. This all is because here in Pakistan the domestic structure of Cricket is so poor and shabby that players like Fawad Alam and Imran Farhat scored tons but failed to deliver in abroad. there are many other examples too. Domestic Associations have nothing to do with pitches and ground conditions. The only aim is to get distinguish job in PCB. I have played lot of cricket but we never had the experience of playing on seeming or bouncy tracks anywhere in Pakistan. We used to roll the pitch by spreading dry grass on it and then say "its a bouncy and bowling track, lets hunt the batsman". But despite these so called bowling tracks, batsmen amassed thousands of runs in every tournament. To me, we have to revisit our domestic cricket style and structure all together.

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