The three match One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and the West Indies ended last night with the green shirts emerging victorious by a margin of 2-1. Pakistan now have a definite advantage over West Indies and are likely to secure a direct qualification to the next world cup.
Still, the way both sides conducted themselves on the field resulted in giving way to a grim reminder of the fact that former world champions are no longer a force to reckon with at the ODI level. Here is a quick look at top 5 areas where both sides need to improve in order to reclaim their lost glory.
5. Fielding and Fitness
Both sides still seem to have players who lack physical and mental fitness and therefore, are prone to lapses in the field every now and then. There is no way the two sides can perform consistently without addressing the issue.
4. Playing on Slow Turners
Every country other than Pakistan and West Indies plays its ODI cricket on extremely flat batting pitches. Incase of Pakistan it is still understandable since they do not play at home and thus, are forced to play on UAE tracks that are slow in nature however, the case of West Indies on the other hand is difficult to comprehend and it is unfortunate that perhaps their management is just not willing to take the matter seriously.
If both sides are to improve they will have to some how develop the habit of putting a score of 350 runs on the board on a regular basis. This is only possible if the home boards provide adequate practice to their players on the kind of tracks that are now used every where else.
3. Lack of Finishers
Other than Shoaib Malik there is no other Pakistani batsman who has the ability to hit the ball big during the final overs of a game. West Indies do have a few players however, once put under pressure all of them seem vulnerable and hence, lack maturity and consistency. Similarly, bowlers from both sides have struggled towards the back end of an innings.
Every good side in the world has finishers with both bat and ball and therefore, Pakistan and West Indies have little choice but either to groom specialists for the concerned areas before the next world cup or face the embarrassment of an early exit (and that too only if they manage to qualify!).
2. The 90s style of Play
While building an innings with the bat both sides still rely on the out dated 90s style of play. The first power play is utilized in a manner where batsmen want to see off the new ball instead of taking advantage of the field restriction. Then there are too many dot balls in the middle of an innings (10-40 overs) because the plan is to keep wickets in hand for the last few overs.
The modern day ODI cricket has progressed to a different genre and clearly Pakistan and the West Indies are where they are because they do not have personnel with the ability to keep up with the modern trend of going big and maintaining pressure on the opposition through out an innings.
1. Lack of Able Leadership
The series provided a fair account of the abilities that Jason Holder and Sarfaraz Ahmed possess as captains of their teams. Through out the series Holder seemed too nice a person for the post where as Sarfaraz invited criticism for being a little to hyper.
Incase of Sarfaraz there is hope because he is still new as an ODI captain and hopefully, will settle down as time progresses. In case of Holder though it’s the internal politics that allows him to lead his side ahead of a much better Darren Sammy.
Nevertheless, both sides require leaders who understand the value of being assertive in the middle and yet, know what it takes to keep calm once put under pressure.