Lahore :As everyone knows Pakistan cricket team is mostly described as “unpredictable side”, which sometimes, to the utter surprise, beats cricketing world’s strong teams and on many occasions, it loses against easy opponents, one can’t even imagine.
Beating South Africa in South Africa is though a big achievement by any cricket team but this time, it is being said that Pakistan cricket team was playing against the A team of South Africa and even some people have termed it the “C side” of the hosts. But the reality is that yes, the main players of South Africa has left the series, as they were committed to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. It was also criticized by many that the South African cricketers preferred IPL to their national assignment but the Cricket South Africa (CSA) has cleared that the players have choice to do what they think better.
When we talk about performance of Pakistan cricket team, the first thing comes to our mind is the strong top order of the Green Shirts. Muhammad Rizwan did wonders for the team throughout the series whether it is ODI series or the T20I, as his bat continued to contribute for the country and helped the national team win crucial matches as well as both ODI and T20I series.
As far as performance of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is concerned, no one can deny the talent, calibre and class of Babar, who compelled the entire cricketing world to accept him as a “batting great” while batting coach Younis Khan has termed him as one of the batting legends of future. The batting coach has also quoted the example of Babar Azam and asked other players of national team to learn from the great Babar, who has hunger of scoring runs, and if they want to become batting greats.
Babar batted brilliantly throughout the series, in ODI as well as T20I, and led his side to series victories. Not only this, the batting great of Pakistan also surpassed India’s Kohli and became No 1 ODI batsman. On achieving this feat, from PCB Chairman Ehsan and CEO Wasim Khan to former greats and current players as well as cricket lovers heaped a lot of praises on Babar and termed him a “future batting legend” and current “ODI King” with the hope that his hat will continue firing and guiding his side to crucial wins.
Besides both Rizwan and Babar, Fakhar Zaman also did well for Pakistan team as he played some crucial knocks, which helped his team score significant triumphs. The opening batsman batted with authority and power and the ultimate result of his sparkling innings was victories for the national team.
Faheem Ashraf also emerged as a “brilliant all-rounder” who not bowled well throughout the series but also struck important and crucial runs for the team, when they were needed the most by his side. Hassan though couldn’t deliver the best in bowling but he also convinced through his batting skills and batted well, when it needed the most.
The remarkable innings of Muhammad Nawaz in the 4th and last T20I can’t be forgotten as he was the real hero, who finished the decisive match in the favour of team Pakistan and he was well appreciated for his “responsible innings” in the last outing of T20I series, won by the visiting side.
The area of concern for Pakistan team was middle order batting, which entire disappointed throughout the series. Batting coach Younis Khan has also admitted that the middle order batting is really weak and this is the they need to work on before the World T20 Cup in India. The batsmen like Asif Ali and Haider Ali, despite being given ample chances, couldn’t deliver but the batting coach backed them saying as they got less chances to play because of brilliant performances of top order, that’s why they couldn’t deliver and added that these are future stars and they need time to excel and deliver of national team.
The bowling of Pakistan team, on the other hand, was though not quite exceptional as most the matches the Green Shirts won while chasing the targets, yet the performance of the bowlers impressed bowling coach Waqar Younis. He said: “It’s a big achievement to win both white-ball series in South Africa. We did a fairly good job in our bowling. The bowlers bowled with responsibility in both series and the energy they showed was a good sign going forward for the upcoming tours and World Cups. The youngsters are doing a good job and they’ll get better and better hopefully.”
To conclude, the white-ball remained very good and morale-booting for Pakistan cricket team while the upcoming Zimbabwe series will further help in boosting the national side’s morale as it is being expected that the Green Shirts will win the series against Zimbabwe quite comfortably but as cricket is “unpredictable game”, one can expect surprising results as well.
On the other hand, South Africans proved them as “Chokers”, as in the close matches, when they were about to win in the death overs, Pakistan players managed to hold their nerves and recorded thrilling victories and proved that the Proteas are real “Chokers”, who can be easily “choked” in the nail-biting situation. So some critics, who are saying that actually the A side of South Africa has gifted the series to Pakistan, can also be given weightage.
Now what the management of Pakistan cricket team needs to do is to work very hard on middle order batsmen and give them confidence to even do well against Zimbabwe. They also need to further boost the morale of top order batsmen to continue excelling for the national side while bowlers need to learn from their mistakes and overcome their flaws, so that they may deliver for the team in the big events and especially during the World T20 Cup in India.