As unpredictable as ever

August 2, 2015

As unpredictable as ever

The ODI series win in Sri Lanka has ensured Pakistan’s participation in the Champions Trophy in 2017. Not only did Pakistan win the ODI series by 3-2, but also claimed the 8th position in the ICC ODI ranking with 90 points.

They are still only two points above 9th-placed West Indies, who will miss the trophy as they don’t have any ODI series before the deadline of September 30, 2015.

If West Indies could not arrange and win an ODI series before the deadline, Pakistan would play the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.

Pakistan looked a better team from the beginning of the tour. First, after almost a decade, Misbah & company won the Test series 2-1. Then Azhar Ali’s young guns won the ODI series. They were under a lot of pressure to qualify for the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan’s bowling, batting and fielding outclassed hosts Sri Lanka in every department of the game.

After a very long time Pakistan’s top order provided solid foundations and the middle-order capitalised on it in almost every game.

An inexperienced bowling line restricted the Sri Lankan batting and exceptional fielding provided full support to the bowlers.

Pakistan won the first ODI by six wickets, but lost the second game by two wickets. They came back strongly in the third match and won it by 135 runs. Their victory by seven wickets in the fourth ODI meant Pakistan qualified for the Champions Trophy.

After winning the ODI series, Pakistan CricketBoard chose not to take any risk and simply declined to play the triangular series in Zimbabwe that had been scheduled with West Indiesas the third team.

PCB had proposed a tri-series in Zimbabwe so that in case Pakistan lost the series against Sri Lanka, there would still be a chance to qualify for the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan were placed ninth before the five-match series in Sri Lanka.  And West Indies were joint eighth with Bangladesh.

It was a wise decision from the board as Pakistan are the most unpredictable team in the world. This was proved once again in the fifth ODI when they lost by a huge margin of 165 runs.

Experts say form is temporary but class is permanent and the fifth ODI result made the difference between good and great teams clear.

A great team may also have lost the game but not the way Pakistan did.

After winning the ODI series, Pakistani bowlers looked relaxed as they conceded 368 runs. Then they were bowled out for just 203. No doubt chasing a target of over 350 is always difficult, but the way they lost proved that we need more consistency in performance. It also validated the board’s decision not to go for the tri-series.

On the other hand India once again refused to play a bilateral series with Pakistan on the pretext of terrorism when a police station was attacked in Gurdaspur.

The PCB should look for a second option instead of requesting India every time.

Pakistan is not a ‘B’ grade team. It must get the respect it deserves.

Politics and sports should not be mixed. If India is not interested in playing with us, we should not bendtoo much.

During Pakistan’s tour to India in 1999, pitches weredug up. It was a direct attack but Pakistan completed the series without showing any grievance.

India have not played a bilateral Test series against Pakistan since 2007, though they did host them for two T20Is and three ODIs between December 2012 and January 2013.

As unpredictable as ever