Australia

Can Pakistan Become The Number One Test Side In World Cricket?

Under Misbah Ul-Haq's captaincy Pakistan are now ranked third in test cricket . With the talent in the squad they could get higher.

Under Misbah Ul-Haq’s captaincy Pakistan are now ranked third in test cricket . With the talent in the squad they could get higher.

There is an old saying in the English language ‘the only way is up’. We take a look to see if such a scenario could be applied here for Pakistan’s cricket team. The Asian side under the leadership of Misbah Ul-Haq have had steady progress and after the 2-0 test series win over Australia Pakistan are now at the ‘dizzy heights’ of being third ranked in the world in test cricket.

In the case of the 1992 world champions is the only way up? Pakistan have been quite brilliant at their new ‘home ground’ Abu Dhabi. The Arab state has been their ‘adopted home’ of recent years due to the ploitical turmoil that has been happening in Pakistan, but never the less the South Asians have excelled here.

Wins against England when the English were the number one test side and most recently Australia being very impressive. Pakistan due to the political goings on haven’t been able to play as much cricket as the other nations, but on current form seem quite impressive.

A mixture of youth and experience leaves this team with a good balance. At the top of the order epitomises just that, Ahmed Shazhad and Mohammed Hafeez open the order. What’s been of slight concern is that this opening partnership has not scored heavily as of yet, which has lead oppurtunites for opposition to strike.

Unfortunately for Australia in the recent series there after it was a struggle, Younus khan, Misbah Ul-Haq and Azhar Ali all scoring heavily. To be fair to Ahmed Shazhad he did score a hundred in this series.

The batting line up then does seem very strong with Hafeez and Shazhad opening the batting, followed by Azhar Ali, Younus Khan and then captain Misbah Ul-Haq. Very impressive batting line up indeed and I haven’t even mentioned Sarfraz Ahmed yet! The wicket keeper batsmen had a brilliant series with the bat where others failed, at 27 Ahmed is at the peak of his powers.

The bowling is ‘just as good’ Zaulfiquar Babar was excellent as was Rahat Ali and Imran Khan. There are slight concerns that I have however with this Pakistan side, as good as it is to have experience in the side, there are players who are on the’wrong side’ of 30.

Zaulfiquar Babar as excellent as he was in the recent series win over the Aussies, in the longer term will need replacing, as will Younus khan and captain Misbah Ul-Haq. What Pakistan are blessed with is talented youngsters however, let’s not forget Umar Akmal has ‘talent in abundance’- but isn’t in the side at the moment.

As for potential replacements for Zaulfiquar Babar Pakistan do have some alternatives for Babar and even for Saeed Ajmal in the longer run, if the 34 year old is cleared to play any time soon (Ajmal has been banned for an illegal bowling action).

As far as the present is concerned, Pakistan will be preparing for the test series against New Zealand – who I am sure will present a different challenge. The Kiwi’s haven’t had the best record against Pakistan over the years – but having said that, this series could still be a tricky one for the ‘hosts’ as many will expect them to win.

Series like this one against New Zealand will be the challenge, many might expect Pakistan to win so let’s see how Pakistan embrace the ‘favourites’ tag.

Pakistan do undoubtedly have the potential to be the worlds best side in test cricket, but in the longer run will need to replace key players like Younus Khan. For now though they need to concentrate on the present which is against New Zealand, the series starts on Sunday 9th November.

Younis Khan Breaks The Record In Emphatic Pakistan Win

images-34

There is no greater achievement in life than exceeding targets, Younus Khan that’s the case. The former Pakistan cricket captain yesterday broke the record for most centuries scored by a Pakistani batsmen in test match cricket.

The Right-Handed batsmen has now scored 26 centuries in 92 tests, passing former captain Inzamam Ul Haq’s 25 centuries. The T20 World Cup winning captain achieved the record feat having played 20 games less than the Pakistani legend Inzamam.

Thankfully for Khan his achievements were in a winning cause as Pakistan won the 1st test against Australia by a mammoth 221 runs. Pakistan batted 1st in Abu Dhabi ( The Neutral Venue where Pakistan play their home games) and posted a daunting 454 all out. Younus Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed who is getting a big reputation in Pakistan both making centuries.

Fifties by Asad Shafiq, captain Misbah Ul Haq and Azhar Ali, made the difference as Australia’s bowlers struggled. Steven O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon who was the star of the Ashes whitewash, both took sever punishment from Pakistan’s batmen as both bowlers conceded over 100 runs in the overs that they bowled which were 30 overs and 37 overs respectively.

Australia got their reply off to a good start, their opening pair put on 128 for the first wicket. The opening partnership ended as Chris Rodgers was bowled by Rahat Ali for 38. From that point on for Australia sadly they lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually all out for 303. Not a bad effort for the first innings- but the Aussies had a 150 run deficit to deal with, how they wished that they could have built some big partnerships in their innings.

Several players made ‘starts’ for Australia but with a 151 run deficit after the first innings, the Aussies knew the task in hand was going to be tough and so it proved. Pakistan proved to be just as destructive in their second innings as they were in the first as Younus Khan helped himself to a record breaking hundred. Khan was supported by Ahmed Shazhad who made a very impressive 131 at the top of the Pakistan batting order. The Asian side declared on 286-2, setting Australia a world record 438 to win.

The Aussies got their run chase off to a disastrous start as 4 wickets fell before 50 runs were on the board for Australia. Despite positive contributions from Chris Rogers who made 43, Steve Smith who made 55 and Mitchell Johnson who top scored with 61 for Australia, the Aussies fell woefully short as Zulfiquar Babar in only his third test claimed a impressive 5-74 off just 31.1 overs.

Pakistan will be looking for wrap up a series over Australia for the first time since 1994, for Australia this latest defeat means they have lost 9 of their last 14 tests in away games against Asian opposition. Australia will be looking to restore some pride after this very heavy defeat, the second test starts on Thursday.