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Less rituals, more runs please

Published Feb 20, 2012 12:51pm


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The talented Umar Akmal was over the moon after he completed his fifty in the third ODI against England. -Photo by AP

Over the years batsmen around the world have celebrated their centuries by raising the bat, taking off their head gear and waving it towards the pavilion. The more enthusiastic/passionate ones make it a point to leap, kiss or hug their partner or sprint for anywhere between ten to thirty yards.

Generally, batsmen, at least the leading ones, think that the only milestone that is worth celebrating is a century, most of the time fifties are not rated as an extra-ordinary achievement.

Former Australian opening batsman, Mark Taylor, once said that his only aim was to score centuries every time he strode out to bat for his country.

The Pakistanis of late, have found it extremely hard to reach three figures in any format of the game. Even half-centuries have been hard to come by in the ongoing ODI series and for that matter the preceding tests. But when they have, they have ensured that they let the world know of their relief in achieving that ‘special’ knock that perhaps has sealed their place in the team for at least the duration of the series!

While there is nothing wrong in thanking the Almighty, there sure is a problem when players return to the pavilion moments later, totally exhausted and having lost focus due to their over the top celebrations. (This includes removal of the helmet, a huge grin, a “sajda”, a warm hug for/from the batting partner and waving of the bat at everyone present inside the stadium).

For instance, the talented Umar Akmal was over the moon after he completed his fifty in the third ODI against England. And as he was going through his celebration rituals one feared his demise was nigh! He didn’t disappoint. He subsequently failed to add a single run to his score, and lost his wicket in a brilliant one-handed catch to Samit Patel at mid-wicket only moments later!

Similarly Taufiq Umar and Adnan Akmal perished almost immediately after reaching the dizzying heights of a test fifty (celebrated with aplomb) in the first match of the series at Dubai.

While Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen tonked tons with leisurely ease, the Pakistani batting effort - or lack of it - has only produced two fifties in the first three ODI games.

The top scorer for Pakistan has been, of all people, BOOM BOOM Afridi. His fifty came minutes after Umar Akmal had finished his celebration rituals. A focused Afridi barely raised his bat and at this juncture he was heard on the stump microphone saying, “Bohot overs hain Umar aaram se” (Take it easy Umar, we’ve got plenty of overs). Akmal nodded, and reassured the former captain that he was in it for the long-haul.

It meant very little as he fell in the very next over.

A few hours later Pietersen had thumped his way to a ton. He had switched back on after scoring his fifty, as focused as a man starting fresh.

With England on the verge of recording a ‘greenwash’, can a Pakistani batsman do away with the rituals and record a face saving ton tomorrow?


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Comments (4) Closed

Usman Ahmad Feb 22, 2012 07:57am
You put it so right.I strongly agree with the writer.Finally some one poured the truth on the piece of paper.Umar Almal is not the only one;there have been plenty.Especially Pakistan team needs a batsmen who can score centuries.When is the last time we saw Pakistani player made a century.Seems like ages!right!.Come on do something.These players are happy with fifties while other teams pile up tons.
Az Feb 23, 2012 06:15am
Only 50 is not enough
JAVED A. KHAN Feb 23, 2012 11:06am
Team Pakistan has been winning under Misbah's captaincy and mostly against minnows. The first big achievement was the 3-0 whitewash in test against England. If you look at the scores there is not a single big innings from any Pakistani batsmen the main achievers were the spin bowlers. After that we have seen the 4-0 greenwash in the ODI's once again mediocre batting and the team cannot score 250 or beyond. We will see the T20 now IMO with this batting they may not score 130-140 and that is not enough. What it needs is a new young team under a new young captain.
gabby Feb 24, 2012 02:36am
We must resist the urge to keep chopping and changing the faces just for the sake of inducting new faces. Asad Shafiq is the brightest of the lot as he combines the temperament and technique of Azhar and aggressive intent of Akmal nicely, he just need a settled position to bat confidence of team management as he is being dropped quite frequently in between the series. I would prefer Azhar any day over Imran farhat. Azhar strike rate would improve with more ODI experience under his belt. I am least optimistic about the progress of Umar Akmal. His career has crashed just after taking a big takeoff with factors including his technical flaws, over aggressiveness, politics and now the added burden of keeping, contributing to his downfall. I would still prefer to keep all three and just give them a long run without putting them under undue pressure. Despite being a fan of Shoaib Malik, I think he has no place in any format of game right now and it would be wise to groom Hammad Azam as the No.6 position of a batting allrounder. I would also like to see Sarfaraz instead of Adnan, a much better keeper and batsman than Adnan. My team for future ODIs Azhar Ali M.Hafeez Asad Shafiq Misbah/Younis Umar Akmal Hammad Azam Sarfaraz Ahmed Shahid afridi Umar Gul Saeed Ajmal Junaid Khan/Wahab Riaz