"History tells us that Pakistan over-promise and under-deliver": Greg Chappell

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The message Pakistan’s players must heed if they are to challenge Australia​

Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell


The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said, “Let us mobilise all our resources in a systematic and organised way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation”.

He was speaking of something much weightier than a Test series, but Pakistani cricket would do well to heed that message this summer.

Mir Hamza lunged to his left at mid-wicket to take a ripper catch and send Nathan McSweeney packing on 40.

No column on Pakistani cricket can be written without some wider context regarding the politics behind the game. Every incoming government imposes its own regime on the Pakistan Cricket Board, starting with the chairman. The churn of so many dissimilar, opinionated and idiosyncratic individuals results in a level of chaos that cannot be underestimated. If you think there is dissonance in Australian cricket ranks, let me tell you it wouldn’t even rate a mention in Pakistan.

Their cricket administration is highly politicised, shambolic, random and without a sense of continuity – a perpetual game of musical chairs. Despite this, Pakistan, in 70 years of Test cricket, has produced some of the most talented, exciting and memorable players the game has seen.

One of the miracles at which I have marvelled is how my friend, the former Pakistan quick Zakir Khan, has, as a senior executive of the PCB, navigated 18 chairmen in the past 25 years. If his friend Imran Khan does not recruit him to politics, I am positive he would do a better job as PCB chairman than most of those he served under.

Some of my favourite Pakistani cricketers include Hanif Mohammad, Javed Miandad, Majid Khan, Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and probably the best left-arm pace bowler of all time, Wasim Akram.

On paper, the current team should provide a considerable challenge for Australia. But Test cricket is not played on paper. History tells us that Pakistan over-promise and under-deliver.

I can recall playing against Pakistan teams that had incredible players who often performed brilliantly as individuals, but rarely as a unit. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, they got their act together. Shan Masood has huge shoes to fill, but it shouldn’t stop him from taking inspiration from the Lion of Lahore.

Australia, on the other hand, showed in the ODI World Cup that they build team spirit and a united sense of purpose. This spirit is built on the back of mateship and collectively rejoicing in individual success. The team is supreme as a unit – a fact that is never lost sight of.

Once again, Pakistan arrive with a team full of talent, but can they change the path of history and beat Australia on their own turf?

Masood will need to inspire his troops with rousing personal performances. He averaged 39 against us here in 2019. The Australians will target him because an under-performing opposition skipper equals a struggling touring team.

Babar Azam is a key player who will bat at No.3 or No.4. He is a world-class batter whose performance on his last visit confirmed the hype. He averaged 52 then and averages 66 in all Tests against Australia.

His continuing good form is imperative for Pakistan, and it will take pressure off the rest of the batting line-up.

Abdullah Shafique is another quality player who averages 50 from his 14 Tests. An opener, he plays spin well, too, and starred in the recent series win in Sri Lanka with a high score of 201. He has performed well against Australia previously, so he should begin confidently.

Unsurprising for the nephew of all-time great Inzamam, southpaw Imam-ul-Haq has pedigree and talent. Still only 27, the world is his oyster.

Mohammad Rizwan is in the mould of Javed Miandad. The Pakistan champion was one of the best players in his time and had no fear of fast bowling. Miandad enjoyed baiting the Australian quicks so they would bowl short, which played to his strengths. My understanding of Urdu was limited, but the hand gestures and general demeanour suggested his batting partners were unimpressed at Miandad’s stirring of the volatile Aussie pacemen.

Pakistan must somehow find a place for Rizwan as a pure batsman, if he is not their first-choice wicketkeeper, due to the presence of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Like Miandad, Rizwan has a style all of his own and enjoys batting on bouncy wickets. If he can settle early, he will be a thorn for our bowlers.

Sarfaraz Ahmed and Saud Shakeel are also quality players. Ahmed has had a good 2023. Much is expected of Shakeel, who averages a remarkable 87 over 13 Test innings since his debut.

Pakistan have produced stirring pace bowlers. The attack will be led here by left-arm speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi. At 198 centimetres tall, he can be a handful on the bouncy Australian pitches if he gets his length right. Afridi swings it both ways and will trouble all batsmen but especially the left-handers, of which we have four in the top seven. How David Warner and Usman Khawaja start will have a big bearing on the outcome of the series. However, he is no Wasim Akram – far from it.

Matt Renshaw leads the bat-off for David Warner's opening spot in the Test team after bringing up a century for the Prime Minister's XI.

Another left-armer is Mir Hamza, who swings it and hits a good length consistently. Khurram Shazad and Aamer Jamal will provide right-arm pace options. Shazad can swing and seam the ball at good pace, and Jamal is quick and known to bowl long spells.

Mohammad Wasim jnr is young but already a wonderful exponent of reverse swing, particularly in white ball cricket. Bowlers with a slingy action like his can trouble the top order with their pace and clean up the tail.

The spin will be provided by Abrar Ahmed, the latest in a line of quality leg-spinners in the tradition of Intikhab Alam, Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. There is a bit of mystery about Ahmed, who I am looking forward to watching. He can spin the ball in the right conditions and bowls accurately.

This is not the best team Pakistan could have fielded due to the injury to young speedster Naseem Shah. Haris Rauf has controversially chosen the BBL over playing for his country. They will need to call upon all of their tenacity to defeat Pat Cummins’ well-drilled outfit.

Imran Khan may be the Lion of Lahore, but he famously said that “I want my team to play like a cornered tiger.” Masood will be pleased if his team shows the fighting spirit of a cornered alley cat.

SMH
 
Imran Khan may be the Lion of Lahore, but he famously said that “I want my team to play like a cornered tiger.” Masood will be pleased if his team shows the fighting spirit of a cornered alley cat.

SMH

Hard truth.
 
So Greg is also in favor of Rizwan's inclusion. Whose place will he take? Sarfraz's? Nope, I don't think so. Playing both Rizwan and Sarfraz means they have to leave some other guy out like Saud or imam maybe and Shan opens with Abdullah.
 
Think the first session of the first Test will lay the seeds for what to expect later
 
Pakistan are neither amongst the quickest attacks in this format nor are they "Desi" like India
They are as your trundlers without assistance from suitable pitches found out they're not 80s Windies after all.

They're quicker than Australia and slower than ZA



desi​

adjective

/ˈdeɪsi/,

/ˈdesi/

/ˈdeɪsi/,

/ˈdesi/
(also deshi)
  1. local or belonging to a particular place; Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or Sri Lankan
    • Many people in the city prefer desi food to the type that is sold by foreign fast food chains.
    • a desi film
    COMPARE videshi
 
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They are as your trundlers without assistance from suitable pitches found out they're not 80s Windies after all.

They're quicker than Australia and slower than ZA
Please. The way Ishant, Shami and Bumrah bowled in 2018-19 here in Australia is something your ATG attack could never do let alone your current talentless, brainless trundlers

Also, lumping PAK with India just because they're "desi" is the same as lumping Nepal cricket team with India's because they're "desi" too.
 
Please. The way Ishant, Shami and Bumrah bowled in 2018-19 here in Australia is something your ATG attack could never do let alone your current talentless, brainless trundlers

Also, lumping PAK with India just because they're "desi" is the same as lumping Nepal cricket team with India's because they're "desi" too.
Except Nepal aren't, so much ignorance befiting the arrogance

Pakistan's attack has regularly demolished you but the power of 1.4b Indian signs cannot be overcome often
 
The Great Chappal of Chappel on Pakistan cricket as usual
Australians have carte blanche on cricket opinion. They're the sport's greatest side, arguably any sports side ever, nationally

They're not Tasmanian devils for nothing
 
I think we shouldn't play1 test against Australia until we improve ourselves. Same old whitewash for years and still our selectors stick with useless players like Fahim, Nauman, Parchi Imam, Hasan.....
 
Except Nepal aren't, so much ignorance befiting the arrogance

Pakistan's attack has regularly demolished you but the power of 1.4b Indian signs cannot be overcome often
Pakistan's attack is absolutely garbage in longer formats and is even more garbage in Australia. The only arrogance is assuming that there is some parity with India's attack. The same attack that has not won a single home Test match in 3 years is suddenly going to match India's attack in Australia because they are "desi". Top notch argument
 
This quote of Chappell fits the performance of the Pakistan team on Australian soil.
 
Was it him or his brother Ian who said Pakistan shouldn't be allowed to play test cricket in Australia untill they improve, after last tour ?
 
28 years since Pakistan won a Test in Australia.

Last 14 Tests in Australia - all lost.

Surely things can only can better!
 
Pakistan's attack is absolutely garbage in longer formats and is even more garbage in Australia. The only arrogance is assuming that there is some parity with India's attack. The same attack that has not won a single home Test match in 3 years is suddenly going to match India's attack in Australia because they are "desi". Top notch argument
I suggested India won there in miraculous circumstances, giving hope to Pakistan.

You then dispute Desi suggesting it only refers to India?
 
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Indians obsession with Pakistan is remarkable given it's a superpower. They pay no attention to Pakistan nor care for it
 
Nothing like Australians reminding Pakistan of their level. Stark contrast to the English who glorify and romanticize Pakistan’s mediocrity.
 
I suggested India won there in miraculous circumstances, giving hope to Pakistan.

You then dispute Desi suggesting it only refers to India?
India winning was no miracle. India had the quality to win. You suggested that this "desi" miracle would rub off on Pakistan. PAK don't have the talent to draw a single match in Australia. It will be a "desi" miracle if PAK escape with a respectable 3-0 loss without a single innings defeat for the level of talent your team has.
 
Gone are the conquered tigers days and it's a new generation now. This will be another 2-0 hammering by Aus..and no amount of miracles will save pak. Just look at the bowling in the PM 11 game- the aus batsmen will pound the pak bowlers into submission.
 
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28 years since Pakistan won a Test in Australia.

Last 14 Tests in Australia - all lost.

Surely things can only can better!
See that shows you how pak have been dominated by aus. The 99-00 pak team to aus led by wasim akram was probably one of the best ever pak sides to visit aus and they git hammered 3-0 by one of the best aus teams of all time.
The current pak team bowling is very mediocre and the aus batsmen will feast on the freebies offered. Another 2-0 years loading up here. Make it last 16 tests lost ! 🙂
 
Nothing like Australians reminding Pakistan of their level. Stark contrast to the English who glorify and romanticize Pakistan’s mediocrity.

Doesn't matter for fans. Pakistan has faster pacers than Australians also so that's what only counts.
 
Doesn't matter for fans. Pakistan has faster pacers than Australians also so that's what only counts.
And it's actually detrimental to the team. Shoaib akhtar is hyped up as if he was terrific in tests in aus but the reality is he was hammered left right and center by not only the top order aus test batsmen but the lower order as well. Just 1 or ball bouncer youtube videos doesn't mask the reality..
 
The reality is that a lot of big name Pakistani players have been awful in Australia.

Even most of the great bowlers of yesteryear have flopped there.

Wasim Akram has probably been the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan in Australia in Test cricket.
 
So Greg is also in favor of Rizwan's inclusion. Whose place will he take? Sarfraz's? Nope, I don't think so. Playing both Rizwan and Sarfraz means they have to leave some other guy out like Saud or imam maybe and Shan opens with Abdullah.
Sarfraz has made lot of mistakes behind the stumps in the tour match.. Im sure after the first game Imam and Sarfraz will be benched for Saim and Rizwan respectively..

This is where I want Hafeez to be smart and judge the players by their performance and make changes swiftly , dont be stubborn like Misbah or Babar ( infact got infiltrated with the idea of resisting to change by Misbah who made him the captain)
 
It's not just Pakistan who have been awful in Australia. Look at England. If you take out the 2010 Ashes, they have habitually lost every Ashes in Australia in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2017, 2022
 
As for Chappell, has a habit of making such statements, doesnt say a word when his Australian side sucks in subcontinent.

Having said that, yes Pakistan will be whitewashed in the series. A win or a draw in any one game will be a huge achievement for us.
 
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It's not just Pakistan who have been awful in Australia. Look at England. If you take out the 2010 Ashes, they have habitually lost every Ashes in Australia in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2017, 2022
Yea aus is one of the toughest tour in the world for teams. Eng has a poor record but pak has an absolutely horrible record - no win in 14 tests in 28 years and most of them very comprehensive.. Just shows you how difficult it is to beat aus at home.

Also the thing is eng is competitive in their home series ashes and have won more. Pak on the other hand even in their home series have lost to aus..
 
So Greg is also in favor of Rizwan's inclusion. Whose place will he take? Sarfraz's? Nope, I don't think so. Playing both Rizwan and Sarfraz means they have to leave some other guy out like Saud or imam maybe and Shan opens with Abdullah.
Did you watch Sarfraz's keeping? He didn't even bother going for catches that were his.
 
Sarfraz has made lot of mistakes behind the stumps in the tour match.. Im sure after the first game Imam and Sarfraz will be benched for Saim and Rizwan respectively..

This is where I want Hafeez to be smart and judge the players by their performance and make changes swiftly , dont be stubborn like Misbah or Babar ( infact got infiltrated with the idea of resisting to change by Misbah who made him the captain)
Safaraz will play in the test, but I would play Riz because he is the better bat. Although with him, we have had lots of soft dismissals
 
Hasnain is the slowest 90mph the game has seen.

Yeah his arm action has no deception and doesn't hurry up the batters at all.

Biggest problem is Pakistan never properly prepare for Australian tours either. For England Tests, they will arrive 4-6 weeks in advance and get used to the conditions. For Australia, they arrive 2 weeks in advance and get an absolute beatdown. The bowling somehow is always the most non-existent in Australia too. Much of the same is to follow.

It will be a miracle if Pakistan can even manage to draw one Tests in this tour.
 
Did you watch Sarfraz's keeping? He didn't even bother going for catches that were his.
This.. I saw some highlights of the game and it's obvious sarfaraz is past his best.
A lot of people still imagine the 2017 sarfraraz I guess and simply because of the ct win against ind. He is slow to react overweight slow reflexes. He will be found out in aus. Time for pak to move on from him. It's like ind held on to ms dhoni after 2015 even though he was past his best just because of his nostalgic 07 and 11 wins..
 
Surprised Greggy did not lambasted Pakistan's mediocrity rather he seems impressed by our talent , Rizwan in particular being compared with Javed heights of optimism . Pakistan are a no match to this double title holder Australian team
 
Surprised Greggy did not lambasted Pakistan's mediocrity rather he seems impressed by our talent , Rizwan in particular being compared with Javed heights of optimism . Pakistan are a no match to this double title holder Australian team
He still has to get eyeballs and views lol ! He will have more pak views than aus views. That's why he has to praise the mediocrity. But his last sentence covers up for all of that - pak over promise and under deliver ! A polite way of saying they are horrendous and that they are.gonna get thrashed 2-0 ! 🙂
 
Ian Chappell had something else to say last time about Pakistan's disappointing tours. Pakistan relies on magic moments/magic balls. Based on that Pakistan "over-promises" . Australia loves such teams. They know they can toy with such attacks once they weather the storm. Also Pakistan's record against left hander in Tests is middle of the road.


Last 5 years teams against Left handers.

lefthandersss.jpg
 
As for Chappell, has a habit of making such statements, doesnt say a word when his Australian side sucks in subcontinent.
There is no comparison between Australia’s performance in the subcontinent and Pakistan’s performance in Australia.
 
If anyone knows about under-deliveries it's Greg Chappell.

On a serious note, if anything he's being generous towards some of our players.
 
Pakistan went from formidable foes to minnow level side to the Australian public within 20-21 years. Chapelle is just one example of that…
 
It's a very well written article as opposed to what his brother Ian does. Seems like he knows a lot about Pak Cricket and has made excellent points here. I do feel he's being generous here for our bowling which has been below average for over a year now. Every thing Greg has written seems well researched as opposed to Ian Chappel getting epiphanies at midnight.
 
Surprised Greggy did not lambasted Pakistan's mediocrity rather he seems impressed by our talent , Rizwan in particular being compared with Javed heights of optimism . Pakistan are a no match to this double title holder Australian team
We can and should be able to give them.a game. We know that playing the way we have for decades hasn't led to any results. Go Nuclear and attack the Aussie bowlers, it may not work but at least it will give our batters a chance to be positive and get some wins against a great attack. When the Aussie batters attack, keep the field up and look for wickets. Spreading the field doesn't work and makes decent bowlers look rubbish.
 
It's a very well written article as opposed to what his brother Ian does. Seems like he knows a lot about Pak Cricket and has made excellent points here. I do feel he's being generous here for our bowling which has been below average for over a year now. Every thing Greg has written seems well researched as opposed to Ian Chappel getting epiphanies at midnight.
Agreed. I appreciate Ian Chappell's bluntness but if you've read one article you've read most of them.

Most pieces are some variation of "captains must look for wickets not to contain runs."
 
As for Chappell, has a habit of making such statements, doesnt say a word when his Australian side sucks in subcontinent.

Having said that, yes Pakistan will be whitewashed in the series. A win or a draw in any one game will be a huge achievement for us.
Pakistan has lost each and every one of its last 15 Tests in the Southern Hemisphere. No team is that bad anywhere - certainly not Australia in Asia.
 
Pakistan not losing a single test by an innings would be the biggest miracle in their cricketing history
 
Pakistan has lost each and every one of its last 15 Tests in the Southern Hemisphere. No team is that bad anywhere - certainly not Australia in Asia.
Australia won one test when there were toured india last two times .won a series in Pakistan and draw last test series in Sri Lanka .so they had decent tour of subcontinent .
 
Was it him or his brother Ian who said Pakistan shouldn't be allowed to play test cricket in Australia untill they improve, after last tour ?

It was Ian. Who plenty of other Australians find too abrasive, to the point of obnoxious.

To explain it, he was still exasperated by the infamous Sydney Test of 2010, which left a very, very bad impression about what really happened in one of the summers marquee occasions.
 
Pakistan not losing a single test by an innings would be the biggest miracle in their cricketing history

I think something remarkable will need to be done by your bowling unit. I struggle to see that attack reaching 20 wickets unless someone gets fairly average second stringers to rise above themselves or Shaheen single handedly plays one of the greatest Test series of all time.
 
I think something remarkable will need to be done by your bowling unit. I struggle to see that attack reaching 20 wickets unless someone gets fairly average second stringers to rise above themselves or Shaheen single handedly plays one of the greatest Test series of all time.
Shaheen is not same bowler anymore .he lost the pace so I don't think he is going to have a great series. Pakistan pace attacks looks very ordinary to be honest . Pakistan batsman can score runs so drawing a test match is good results for them .
 
NZ barring one test match have lost more than they have won in Australia.
 
As for Chappell, has a habit of making such statements, doesnt say a word when his Australian side sucks in subcontinent.

Having said that, yes Pakistan will be whitewashed in the series. A win or a draw in any one game will be a huge achievement for us.
Won in Pakistan
Drew in SL
Lost to India by 1-2

Looks good to me.
 
NZ barring one test match have lost more than they have won in Australia.

Yes, Eng, NZ etc had bad time in Aus, but

In the last 23 Years,

Eng has won 4 and drew 3 games in Aus
NZ has won just one but drew 4 games in Aus
WI has not won but drew same games in Aus
SL has drawn a game as well.

Pakistan has lost every single game there. Zim and BD has not drawn any games but they played total 2 tests each.

Pakistan should try to at least draw 1-2 games in Aus. It's not that hard to draw if you bat big. Who knows, may be bowling may click in the same match and Pakistan can even get a win.
 
Pakistan beat the Invincible Australian ODI team 2-1 in Australia back in 2002. People who watched Cricket back then will appreciate the magnitude of that achievement against that team
 
Pakistan won the ODI WC in 1992 in Australia, a subcontinent team winning a ODI WC in Australia. Pakistan also won the Carlton and United Series featuring Australia and the West Indies in 1996-97.

We have not been a complete disaster in Australia as some are proclaiming.
 
Pakistan won the ODI WC in 1992 in Australia, a subcontinent team winning a ODI WC in Australia. Pakistan also won the Carlton and United Series featuring Australia and the West Indies in 1996-97.

We have not been a complete disaster in Australia as some are proclaiming.
Bro - that was 25 - 30 years ago..ind won world series cricket in Aus in 85 - nobody clings on to that. Also Aus became a dominant beast atg force from 99 onwards. The 96 wc final loss to sl was the catalyst for the change in aus approach in odi and test cricket as well as in they were proactive and ruthless
 
Pakistan won the ODI WC in 1992 in Australia, a subcontinent team winning a ODI WC in Australia. Pakistan also won the Carlton and United Series featuring Australia and the West Indies in 1996-97.

We have not been a complete disaster in Australia as some are proclaiming.
Afridi also hit the mammoth six at Docklands which touched the roof , pre T20 era. Insane!
 
Pakistan has always been bad on Australian soil. No wonder if they get beaten again but at least they should go down fighting. You can lose the series but a total domination from the opposition is not acceptable.
 
Pakistan won the ODI WC in 1992 in Australia, a subcontinent team winning a ODI WC in Australia. Pakistan also won the Carlton and United Series featuring Australia and the West Indies in 1996-97.

We have not been a complete disaster in Australia as some are proclaiming.
Why bring up odi cricket in a discussion about test cricket. Pakistan has been the worst team to tour aus since 1995
 
Yes, Eng, NZ etc had bad time in Aus, but

In the last 23 Years,

Eng has won 4 and drew 3 games in Aus
NZ has won just one but drew 4 games in Aus
WI has not won but drew same games in Aus
SL has drawn a game as well.

Pakistan has lost every single game there. Zim and BD has not drawn any games but they played total 2 tests each.

Pakistan should try to at least draw 1-2 games in Aus. It's not that hard to draw if you bat big. Who knows, may be bowling may click in the same match and Pakistan can even get a win.
They have two challenges ahead of them. One is to take 20 wickets. Other one is not to lose 20 wickets. Both have been impossible since the late 90s.
 
We are a T20 team now, these players don’t really care about the longer formats anymore neither have they played it much.

Writing these long articles on our struggles in the longer formats is a waste of time. These players just don’t have it in them to produce results in a format they just do not understand anymore.
 
Pakistan should draw or win a test atleast in Sydney. It is the closest to any subcontinental pitches. There will be more spin to offer and their batsman can play that well. Younis Khan and Azhar Ali would have managed to draw a test there if got support from bowlers. Can the bowlers do the job though?
 
Agreed. I appreciate Ian Chappell's bluntness but if you've read one article you've read most of them.

Most pieces are some variation of "captains must look for wickets not to contain runs."
Ian Chappel isn't blunt but disrespectful towards all the teams other than top 5.
All of Chappel's articles are like, " I knew this was going to happen"
"Captain needs to put aggressive fields"
"Mental strength sets great batters apart"
"I was seeing Bradman's knock and figured out it wasn't his talent but his mental strength that led him to score runs"
 
Pakistan’s new captain is a Bazball disciple, but does he have the players to play it?

Perth: On a sunny day two at Old Trafford during this year’s unforgettable Ashes series, Australia’s globally feared pace attack was hammered by Bazball.

Led by Zak Crawley, England sprinted to a first innings of 592 while scoring at 5.5 runs an over, making Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins look, on a very rare occasion, something like ordinary.

It was a scorecard that went around the world, including to a Pakistan side that had already begun to reshape into a far more proactive mould.

“If there was any time I saw Bazball, it was that day,” Usman Khawaja told this masthead. “They put the bowlers under so much pressure, our bowlers missed the spot a lot, they really weren’t sure what to do, and that was Bazball at its best. They dominated that game, and potentially would’ve won if not for the rain.”

In Perth this week, Khawaja and his teammates will learn whether Pakistan, now led by Shan Masood, have the ability and the mental fortitude to try out a similar brand of cricket in Australia.
They have been working towards it for most of the year, trialling the new “Pakistan way” of cricket in a thumping 2-0 series victory in Sri Lanka.

After a sequence of home series defeats, the previously passive Pakistan batting line-up surged to life, scoring at close to five runs an over in difficult, spin-friendly conditions and leaving the Sri Lankans – far from easybeats at home – with no answer.

It was, in a way, a mirror of how Crawley and company had monstered Australia’s vaunted pace attack in Manchester, the one moment in an otherwise tightly fought series where one side was “completely and utterly dominant”, to quote Ben Stokes, over the other.

Masood was Pakistan’s most articulate spokesperson during the series in Sri Lanka. After Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup, Masood replaced Babar Azam as captain, and there is little doubt he will carry on in the same aggressive vein.

“The last Test cycle gave us a big reflection, and this management was very firm that one of the things that was lacking with us not winning Test matches, or not finishing them off, was that we weren’t scoring at such a high rate as our opposition,” Masood said. “That has been a concentrated effort.

“There were guys who were given a grant to go and play cricket in England, but the rest of the guys put in a lot of hard work during two skill camps that were based in Lahore and Karachi before we flew out to Sri Lanka. The emphasis was on scoring runs, just to put the opposition under pressure.

“In the camps, everything was left to individual preferences, but they were provided platforms to experiment – to play all kinds of shots, see what suited them, what kinds of oppositions they were coming up against. If you look at the players in our set-up, you can see subtle changes that have allowed them to score quickly.”

In addition to his Pakistan appointment, Masood has seen Bazball’s effects on English cricket up close as captain of Yorkshire. The demand for fast-scoring batters has been made loud and clear across the county system. And on an awfully sluggish Manuka Oval surface, Masood’s double-century against the Prime Minister’s XI was scored at a decisive tempo.

Australia’s planners, undoubtedly, are expecting a more aggressive opposition than they faced in early 2022 across an attritional series that Pat Cummins’ men ultimately won 1-0 on their first visit to Pakistan since 1998. But as was the case before the England series, the Australians want to see the rhetoric followed up with action.

“I think in the last series they played it was a more up-tempo brand and they’ll try to put more pressure on the bowling unit, so I think we’ll see a little bit of that,” head coach Andrew McDonald said.

“But, like anything, if we execute with the ball it’s going to be difficult to be able to maintain that over long periods. We’re not totally sure of the way they’ll play – they’ll signal their intent from the first ball out there.”

“We’re living in a day and age when there’s thrill-seeking batsmen going after bowlers, scoring runs and showing off their skills. We’d like to play a brand of cricket that’s attractive, but we’d like to play a brand of cricket that helps us win games.”

The three biggest hurdles to Pakistan’s chances of imposing themselves come in the form of the high-quality Australian team and how their players match-up with Pakistan’s, conditions affording plenty of bounce to make some attacking shots risky, and the recent overturning of Pakistan’s backroom after the World Cup.

Masood is leading a team that is now being guided by a cadre of former players, from team director Mohammad Hafeez to selection chief Wahab Riaz. The PCB briefly hired disgraced spotfixer Salman Butt as a selection consultant, before the move was kiboshed by public outcry both within and outside Pakistan.

One of the keys to Bazball is the calm and supportive environment fostered by Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum for England’s Test team. It remains to be seen whether Masood and company can do the same with the famously combustible Pakistani setup.

“We’re living in a day and age when there’s thrill-seeking batsmen going after bowlers, scoring runs and showing off their skills,” Masood said. “We’d like to play a brand of cricket that’s attractive, but we’d like to play a brand of cricket that helps us win games.”

 
Agree with Chappell in that Rizwan needs to play. He is a batter more suited to Aussie conditions than Sarfraz and a better keeper.

Shan and Hafeez need to get this right.
 

The message Pakistan’s players must heed if they are to challenge Australia​

Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell


The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said, “Let us mobilise all our resources in a systematic and organised way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation”.

He was speaking of something much weightier than a Test series, but Pakistani cricket would do well to heed that message this summer.

Mir Hamza lunged to his left at mid-wicket to take a ripper catch and send Nathan McSweeney packing on 40.

No column on Pakistani cricket can be written without some wider context regarding the politics behind the game. Every incoming government imposes its own regime on the Pakistan Cricket Board, starting with the chairman. The churn of so many dissimilar, opinionated and idiosyncratic individuals results in a level of chaos that cannot be underestimated. If you think there is dissonance in Australian cricket ranks, let me tell you it wouldn’t even rate a mention in Pakistan.

Their cricket administration is highly politicised, shambolic, random and without a sense of continuity – a perpetual game of musical chairs. Despite this, Pakistan, in 70 years of Test cricket, has produced some of the most talented, exciting and memorable players the game has seen.

One of the miracles at which I have marvelled is how my friend, the former Pakistan quick Zakir Khan, has, as a senior executive of the PCB, navigated 18 chairmen in the past 25 years. If his friend Imran Khan does not recruit him to politics, I am positive he would do a better job as PCB chairman than most of those he served under.

Some of my favourite Pakistani cricketers include Hanif Mohammad, Javed Miandad, Majid Khan, Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Inzamam ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and probably the best left-arm pace bowler of all time, Wasim Akram.

On paper, the current team should provide a considerable challenge for Australia. But Test cricket is not played on paper. History tells us that Pakistan over-promise and under-deliver.

I can recall playing against Pakistan teams that had incredible players who often performed brilliantly as individuals, but rarely as a unit. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, they got their act together. Shan Masood has huge shoes to fill, but it shouldn’t stop him from taking inspiration from the Lion of Lahore.

Australia, on the other hand, showed in the ODI World Cup that they build team spirit and a united sense of purpose. This spirit is built on the back of mateship and collectively rejoicing in individual success. The team is supreme as a unit – a fact that is never lost sight of.

Once again, Pakistan arrive with a team full of talent, but can they change the path of history and beat Australia on their own turf?

Masood will need to inspire his troops with rousing personal performances. He averaged 39 against us here in 2019. The Australians will target him because an under-performing opposition skipper equals a struggling touring team.

Babar Azam is a key player who will bat at No.3 or No.4. He is a world-class batter whose performance on his last visit confirmed the hype. He averaged 52 then and averages 66 in all Tests against Australia.

His continuing good form is imperative for Pakistan, and it will take pressure off the rest of the batting line-up.

Abdullah Shafique is another quality player who averages 50 from his 14 Tests. An opener, he plays spin well, too, and starred in the recent series win in Sri Lanka with a high score of 201. He has performed well against Australia previously, so he should begin confidently.

Unsurprising for the nephew of all-time great Inzamam, southpaw Imam-ul-Haq has pedigree and talent. Still only 27, the world is his oyster.

Mohammad Rizwan is in the mould of Javed Miandad. The Pakistan champion was one of the best players in his time and had no fear of fast bowling. Miandad enjoyed baiting the Australian quicks so they would bowl short, which played to his strengths. My understanding of Urdu was limited, but the hand gestures and general demeanour suggested his batting partners were unimpressed at Miandad’s stirring of the volatile Aussie pacemen.

Pakistan must somehow find a place for Rizwan as a pure batsman, if he is not their first-choice wicketkeeper, due to the presence of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Like Miandad, Rizwan has a style all of his own and enjoys batting on bouncy wickets. If he can settle early, he will be a thorn for our bowlers.

Sarfaraz Ahmed and Saud Shakeel are also quality players. Ahmed has had a good 2023. Much is expected of Shakeel, who averages a remarkable 87 over 13 Test innings since his debut.

Pakistan have produced stirring pace bowlers. The attack will be led here by left-arm speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi. At 198 centimetres tall, he can be a handful on the bouncy Australian pitches if he gets his length right. Afridi swings it both ways and will trouble all batsmen but especially the left-handers, of which we have four in the top seven. How David Warner and Usman Khawaja start will have a big bearing on the outcome of the series. However, he is no Wasim Akram – far from it.

Matt Renshaw leads the bat-off for David Warner's opening spot in the Test team after bringing up a century for the Prime Minister's XI.

Another left-armer is Mir Hamza, who swings it and hits a good length consistently. Khurram Shazad and Aamer Jamal will provide right-arm pace options. Shazad can swing and seam the ball at good pace, and Jamal is quick and known to bowl long spells.

Mohammad Wasim jnr is young but already a wonderful exponent of reverse swing, particularly in white ball cricket. Bowlers with a slingy action like his can trouble the top order with their pace and clean up the tail.

The spin will be provided by Abrar Ahmed, the latest in a line of quality leg-spinners in the tradition of Intikhab Alam, Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. There is a bit of mystery about Ahmed, who I am looking forward to watching. He can spin the ball in the right conditions and bowls accurately.

This is not the best team Pakistan could have fielded due to the injury to young speedster Naseem Shah. Haris Rauf has controversially chosen the BBL over playing for his country. They will need to call upon all of their tenacity to defeat Pat Cummins’ well-drilled outfit.

Imran Khan may be the Lion of Lahore, but he famously said that “I want my team to play like a cornered tiger.” Masood will be pleased if his team shows the fighting spirit of a cornered alley cat.

SMH
After reading this, I am convinced that Greg Chappell knows more about Pakistan cricket than most Pakistanis. Make Greg the next Coach of Pakistan, if we can't make him the Chairman of PCB.
 
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