Friday, 2 May 2008

Will Pak players raise their hands, please?

Now that IPL is in its adolescence, stock-taking seems an irresistible idea. But hang on, will the Pakistani players please raise their hands, and possibly their game too?

Intriguingly, the T20 World Cup finalists have not set the IPL alight. On the contrary, barring the possible exception of Asif, none of the Pakistani players pass muster. What happened to the T20 World Cup finalists?

If headline-hogging is made the yardstick, I think the only Pakistani who really made some mark is Shoaib ‘Will-He-Won’t-He’ Akhtar.

Let’s delve into the details on a case-by-case, and occasionally nutcase-by-nutcase, basis.

Among the KKR trio, Salman Butt got a look-in against Rajasthan but the sight of Sohail Tanveer probably made him emotional and he could not deny the fellow Pakistani a wicket. No wonder Butt made all the effort to drag the ball onto his stumps.

To be fair, Butt still can lay a legitimate claim that he did not get enough matches, an excuse Mohammad Hafeez can’t afford. Four matches and the Pakistani young gun is still firing blank.

Worst is the case with Umar Gul, who clearly shot himself in the foot with his candour that Ganguly has miles to go before he can replicate his success as India’s ODI and Test captain in this format. Criticising your own skipper, especially when he’s struggling to digest a hat-trick of defeats, doesn’t make Gul an ideal candidate for any diplomatic job but my suspicion is he wanted to prove that post-retirement, he is a commentator material.

Meanwhile, of the Rajasthan Royals trio, Younis Khan is phantom, while Kamran Akmal’s contribution hardly goes beyond his toothy appeal. No wonder Tanveer is wearing a smug smile.

In the Delhi Daredevils camp, Shoaib Malik has been cagey and he treats every bowler as if his alleged Indian father-in-law. Asif, on his part, looks shrinking under Glenn McGrath’s widening shadow.

And no prize for guessing who takes the cake. We have seen enough mopping of hair. Can we have some action, please, Afridi?

But you can’t really fault Misbah if he looks a miserable misanthropist. As someone pointed out, he’s the guy behind the razzmatazz. Had he not scooped that shot in the T20 World Cup final, had not India won the title, had it not triggered frenzy in India, IPL would not have been a reality after all.

But such is the plight of the Bangalore Royal Challengers – no prize for guessing Charu Sharma is their CEO – that they had to bench Misbah. Now that Ross Taylor is gone, Misbah gets his rightful place and I feel he might turn out to be Pakistan’s redemption man.

Image: AFP

9 comments:

Naked Cricket said...

never know, dravid may pull another saf player outta the closet, and misbah will get another stay order -stay dog, good dog, sit.
also is misbah on for a bad run

Som said...

NC, after BRC's match against the Daredevils, Dravid was at pain explaining why he HAD TO leave out Misbah.
Ross Taylor was in good nick, you need Boucher behind the stumps and Steyn with the new ball as well. And the leck of depth in bowling necessitated an all-rounder and Kallis thus got the nod over Misbah, he said. Felt like sympathising with Dravid.

Naked Cricket said...

gotta change a losing combination. and misbah is first choice import, then the others. rd's not playing t20, he's playing reputations.

Straight Point said...

its not coincidence that at the bottom of IPL Table are the teams which are struggling with their 'captains'...

reverse are the team at top....

only punjab tesm is an exception...they are winning inspite of yuvi being their captain...

i think the case with misbah was that everyone is asking the question to dravid making him defensive to his selection...

besides had he selected him before and had he won the game it would have been egg on his face kinda situation...

now that taylor is gone he can simply say misbah played as replacement...

poor mallya...

dravid...tsk tsk...

Poonam said...

Brilliant ... especially the bit on Afridi's hair and Malik's father-in-law.

But of all the Pakistanis I think Kamran Akmal has given a good account of himself.

Som said...

SP, I think you should not mind the egg on the face as long as it guarantees a win. Dravid can't think out-of-the-box and the team in a hole.

Som said...

Poonam, to be honest, yes, Akmal has not done that bad. We have seen worse among keeper-batsmen. I think Asif too is OK. But all along we have been waiting for a match-winning performance from any of the Pakistani players in the fray, which has eluded us so far. Hope it comes soon.

Q said...

Hmmm.. it may seem like a Pakistani is coming to the defence of Pakistani players here but I'll just try and put things into perspective.

I agree that none of the Pakistanis have put in match winning performances but Afridi has done very well with the ball. He was in the top 5 wicket takers in my Q1 results earlier this week. Plus if Symonds had not gone for 17 in his last over against RR, people would have been calling Afridi's 3-28 a match winning effort.

Butt and Gul have played only 1 game so you can't say much abt them yet.

Hafeez and Malik have been disappointing.

But Asif has been good. Apart from the last 2 matches (todays and the last one), he's looked as good as McGrath.

Younis Khan, btw is not in India. He's decided not to turn up due to "personal reasons".

Wait till Misbah comes in. He will change RCB's fortunes ;-)

Som said...

Q, feel free to defend, no moral police around, haha. Besides, I was trying to sound funny.
Jokes apart, actually the expectation was more on players like Afridi (the batsman) but he's yet to come up with his trademark blitzkrieg. Indeed, Asif, Akmal too, hasn't done bad either. But still that one match-winning performance is yet to come. Maybe Misbah will deliver that. Keeping my fingers crossed.