Home > Features >

Selection of Rahat over Irfan and Adil and Younis’s twin failures hit Pakistan hard at Johannesburg

Selection of Rahat over Irfan and Adil and Younis's twin failures hit Pakistan hard at Johannesburg

Sent as reinforcement, Rahat Ali was chosen ahead of the first-choice Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Adil. Regardless of the fact that his bowling was mostly ineffective, it is the manner of his selection that should raise serious questions © AFP

By Syed Mustafa
 
Despite promising much, the Pakistani cricket team could deliver little against the South African juggernaut in the first Test against South Africa at Johannesburg. It was a sound thrashing and a reminder that despite their resurgence over the past couple of years, the tourists have still got plenty to learn.
 
A number of things went wrong for Pakistan right from the beginning.
 
Starting with team selection, Rahat Ali – who was only sent as reinforcement – was chosen ahead of the first-choice Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Adil. Regardless of the fact that his bowling was mostly ineffective, it is the manner of his selection that should raise serious questions. Irfan and Ehsan Adil must be wondering why they were even selected in the first place.
 
Graeme Smith’s decision to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions had given Pakistan a huge opportunity to run through the hosts’ strong batting line-up; however, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan and Rahat all failed to exploit the conditions to their advantage.
 
Gul and Junaid did pick up a couple of wickets each, but they could have picked up more had they bowled to a fuller length thereby allowing the ball to move in the air – something that Dale Steyn did to good effect.
 
Pakistan still did well to restrict the Proteas to 253, thanks to a magical spell by Mohammad Hafeez.
A great deal was expected of Pakistan’s batting line-up which has certainly displayed plenty of resolve over the past two and a half years coupled with a willingness to stay at the pitch for long hours; however, South African bowling was perhaps too fiery for them to handle. Their dismal performance once again exposed the inadequacy of Pakistan’s domestic cricket and of course the inexperience of the touring batsmen who simply had no answers to the probing line bowled by Dale Steyn and Co.
 
By the time the South Africans went out to bat the second time around, the pitch had eased out. With rain being a possibility over the next two days, the need of the hour was to stifle the batsmen for runs and in the process try and delay the declaration; however, the bowlers seemed to have lost all the venom and continued to concede easy runs. Even the otherwise-wily Saeed Ajmal looked extremely flat.
 
As a result, South African batsmen scored at more than four runs per over and gave their bowlers ample time to dismiss Pakistan for the second time.
 
Pakistani batsmen did fare better with the bat in their second outing but the performances are largely irrelevant considering the fact that it was already a lost cause.
 
The half-century notched up by the talented Asad Shafiq might encourage a few but his actual temperament will be tested in pressure situations.
 
The real disappointment for Pakistan was the wm failures of the experienced Younis Khan.

Despite having a modest record in South Africa, he was expected to lead the young batting line-up by example; sadly, the veteran failed to put his hand up when it was most needed.
 
There were a few positives as well; Sarfraz Ahmed was a refreshing change behind the stumps as he – in stark contrast to the fumbling and faltering Akmal senior – looked extremely tidy and safe. He could not perform with the bat, but his exploits at the domestic level suggest that he will come well sooner rather than later.

Nasir Jamshed looked at ease for as long as he was at the crease.
 
Lastly, Pakistan’s catching – which has so often been a cause of embarrassment – was  excellent in this Test match.
 
Despite the beating, Pakistan should not lose heart; they are not the only team to have been shot out for under-50 in recent times. The Australians were gunned down for 47 just over a year ago and the Kiwis were skittled out for a measly 45 only last month.
 
The team has availed the opportunity to get some confidence back against the Western Province Invitation XI before the 2nd Test starts in Cape Town. However, it has to be realised that even batsmen as celebrated as Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Saeed Anwar have failed to excel in such alien conditions and hence the only way Pakistan can compete in this series is through its bowling.
 
It should also be kept in mind that the likes of Umar Gul and Junaid Khan do not possess the fearsome pace of a Shoaib Akhtar or a Waqar Younis and hence it would be unwise for them to try and blow away the South African batsmen. Rather, it would be better if they can focus on maintaining an impeccable line and length and cutting down on loose deliveries forcing the hosts’ batsmen to make mistakes.
 
Saeed Ajmal is perhaps struggling to come out of his limited-over mode. Historically, the South Africans have been suspect against quality spin and if he can change his line of attack from around-the-wicket to over-the-wicket and manage to add a bit of flight to his deliveries, he can actually be the trump card that Pakistan is looking for.
 
Coming to the umpiring, this Test match was a bad advertisement for the Decision Review System (DRS). The decision-making on referrals was extremely inconsistent – in fact, it bordered on the outrageous.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) would do well to take immediate notice if it wishes to make DRS a permanent feature in international matches.
 
(Syed Mustafa is an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration. The above article is reproduced with permission from http://tribune.com.pk/)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Pat Cummins set to return for Australia during T20Is against South Africa

Shane Watson desperate to make comeback

New Zealand restricted to 230 in 1st ODI against South Africa

IPL success embodies emergence of sports as global industry, says India’s representative at UN

Live Cricket Score: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Virat Kohli becomes fastest to 20 ODI hundreds

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here