Shoaib sucked big time against India - sayz Ramiz Raja

Shoaib sucked big time against India - sayz Ramiz Raja

Post by squarecu » Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:49:24

April 17, 2004

The moment Inzamam-ul Haq lost the toss he had an expression of
disappointment at being made to bat first. This was the first sign that
Pakistan were low on confidence and did not back their batsmen even against
the inexperienced rookie bowlers India had fielded in the Test. From that
moment onwards, the attitude of the Pakistan players continued to
deteriorate right through the game, and this was inexplicable considering
they had beaten this Indian team in four days just a week ago.

A spate of injuries, starting with the one sustained by Umar Gul before the
game and ending with the one Asim Kamal bravely played with till the end,
did hamper Pakistan. However, that is a sign that the team lacked the depth
that India possessed in plenty.

Even without their key bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, and minus
their captain Sourav Ganguly, India never looked like they were missing key
players. This speaks volumes about the solidity of the Indian squad, by
which I mean not only the players, but also the coach, physio and other
support staff.

The way some senior players conducted themselves right through this Test
also left a lot to be desired. I was really disappointed at the way Shoaib
Akhtar conducted himself right through the Test. These green-top pitches
were made for him after we decided to bow to public demand. After we
provided favourable conditions, I was surprised to see that he was not
really committed to beating India. For a Pakistani player, if you can't
fight against India, then you won't fight against anybody.

This series was a great chance for Shoaib to become a national hero. Sadly,
he did not deliver, and has missed one of the greatest opportunities of his

Besides his on-field performance, the way he conducted himself as a senior
bowler in the side, with the youngsters, his captain and his coach, was
really not a reassuring sight for Pakistan cricket.

He was not the only senior to disappoint. There was also Yousuf Youhana, who
seemed to come into his own only when there was nothing but personal
milestones to play for. When he reached 48 today you knew that he was
thinking of having a good knockabout when nothing was left in the game.

Earlier, it was the Indians who used to come with big averages and scores
but were unable to win Tests for the country. Today, it seems the Pakistanis
are suffering from the same affliction.

Pakistan's top order batting was another disappointing aspect of the final
Test. The Indians gave them a great opportunity by bowling below par for the
first 45 minutes on the first day. However, the openers and the middle order
just kept crumbling against what was just regular swing bowling. There was
no pace to make the movement unplayable, and while India's young bowlers
were accurate and steady, they were made to look better than they actually
are by some shockingly poor batting.

The Indians were outstanding on all counts, on and off the field. This team
is special, because they look to win Tests rather than merely achieve
personal goals. I remember the batting line-up in 1987 as a formidable one
on paper, but not once did they look capable of winning a game off their
bats. That is the difference between this batting line-up and the one that
India had till the early 1990s.

Rahul Dravid is part of that new breed of Indian batsmen, and unlike the
Pakistanis, when he was dropped at 71, he made the opposition pay for it.
His approach was brilliant and it was amazing to see that he did not play
for himself at any point in his marathon innings.

At the end of the day, it was the better team that took both the trophies,
in the one-dayers and the Tests.

The Pakistanis are a talented lot, so there were flashes of brilliance that
kept the series alive. However, to win, you need more than personal talent
and moments of genius. You need a team that is committed to the idea and
purpose of winning. This Indian team possesses that commitment.

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