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October 19, 2020

Northern’s dismal show unworthy of star-studded look

Sports

October 19, 2020

Former champions Northern looked like a disjointed unit while going into the important knockout stage of the National T20 Cup with no player knowing exactly about his role during the semi-final against Southern Punjab.

Resultantly, they were lacking the required punch for such a do-or-die encounter.

Admitted that Northern had an exceptional run of play during the league matches, winning all except two matches in the process, however, it is the performance in the knockout stage that holds importance. No commentator or expert realised that in T20s it is the teamwork and performance on a given day that matters. Northern had never imagined that semi-final stage could turn out to be a nightmare for them. They were only seeing their strengths but never paid any heed to their weaknesses.

The biggest weakness probably was that Northern’s management was unsure about their best combination for crucial matches so it kept on introducing chop and change policy unnecessarily. In the process, the team’s management rested their best player like Haider Ali for a few matches.

Without any genuine reason, resting a batsman means you are actually trying to break his rhythm. Though Haider tried to readjust after a gap in action but it was too late for Northern. It was also a surprise for many as Umar Amin and Sohail Akhtar were not included in the playing XI even for the semi-finals. Their omission from playing XI in the semi-final was highly deplorable.

Umar Amin is the batsman who can play all the twenty overs and keep up pressure on the opponents. However, such a brilliant batsman can only perform when he is certain about his place in the team.

Similarly, Sohail has always been rated the best hitter however Northern management’s behavior towards him was a bit shocking for many.

During Northern’s campaign in the National T20 Cup this year, performance of nobody was better than speedster Haris Rauf. The credit for his exceptional rise must go to Lahore Qalandars. The franchise not only spotted Islamabad-based bowler but also nourished him to become one of the best in limited over cricket.

The story of Northern second XI is even worst this year. The second XI also started as defending champions but ended up at the abysmal bottom with none of the batsmen even touched the 20 runs average in the tournament. There is surely something wrong with such a performance and the reasons behind it needs to be unearthed. Whether the players’ selection for the second Northern string was fair — is a question that requires an apt answer.