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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Gul and Wahab Got Their Tactics Wrong" : Mohammed Zahid

In the latest instalment of his blog at, Mohammed Zahid speaks of his disappointment with the defeat at the hands of the West Indies and offers his analysis on what went wrong and his predictions for the final test.


Main reason for Loss:

First of all I must say I was really disappointed with this loss, as always my sympathies are with the Pakistan team.

I feel that the West Indies, as a team, are undergoing a learning experience. Even though their performance was not particularly top-class, they played better as a unit. In contrast, our big players could not perform - it was only Asad and Misbah who showed some quality, along with Saeed Ajmal. We lack a finisher, someone who can build an innings and then finish the game for us. Clearly, we lack that player. Be it in bowling or batting, we are missing that one special player.

Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz’s performance:

With Umar Gul, it could have been a lack of form and rhythm, but there are no excuses at this level. As for Wahab, I think he needs to understand his limitations. Wahab perhaps sees himself as an express bowler like Shoaib Akhtar or Waqar Younis. He can perhaps bowl 4-5 deliveries at 90 miles per hour, but this pitch did not require that. If you even bowled at 78 miles per hour and bowled a good line and length, and bowled on the spot, you would have been successful. A major reason for the failure of both bowlers was that they kept trying to bowl too fast. Darren Sammy was bowling 78 mph but his line and length was good and he bowled wicket to wicket. In short, both Gul and Wahab got their tactics wrong.

Strategy for the Guyana pitch:

Depends on the bowler, like I said you must know your limitations. If someone like Shoaib Akhtar is in my team and I am the skipper, I would tell him to bowl as he likes. Bowlers like Waqar Younis or Brett Lee, I would instruct them to go flat out. But they also know their limits. Gul and Wahab are not express bowlers; they bowl at 85-87 mph and can occasionally touch 90 miles per hour. They should have concentrated on their basics, line and length, and not their speed. Wahab Riaz may not be experienced enough, that is fair enough but such a senior bowler like Waqar Younis should have been able to guide him to bowl in an effective manner.

Role of Coaching Staff:

Both [Waqar and Aqib] were great bowlers in their times, but I really do not understand why the fast bowlers under their guidance, did not bowl as per the requirement. However, at the end of the day, the player is the one that has to deliver. One cannot lay the blame on the coaches alone. Coaches can only instruct you so much.

Another problem is the lack of 2 good, proper openers. Hafeez is playing because he can bowl a few good overs and give you 30-40 runs. He’s not an opener. They have been trying to find the right openers for 7-10 years, but it’s not going to happen. In regards to Taufeeq, we have been trying for a decade but he cannot be an opener. If it does not happen even after 10 years, it is never going to happen.

Younis Khan’s Absence, No Recall for Mohammed Yousuf:

I am not surprised at all. Yousuf has one more year, Younis perhaps one or two more seasons at the most. You will need new players after couple of years. You must take junior players now. I am very sure that there are players in Pakistan domestic cricket who deserve a chance. Taufeeq has been in and out of the team for the past decade, even on his comeback he has not made more than 40-45. I don’t understand why they keep trying the same player. If selectors are not satisfied with these results then they should try a junior player – atleast there is a chance that he will become a quality player after couple of years!

Can Pakistan Level The Series?

I have my doubts. Granted the wicket was very poor, but the West Indies also played on it as well. I was really impressed by Asad Shafiq, he has a lot of determination and temperament, and he will play for a long time and break plenty of records. Saeed Ajmal impressed a lot too, but he is almost 34-35, his career will be over soon too. If we are going to lose, then at least lose with some junior players. They will at least be enthusiastic and will have the hunger to do well.
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