As I write the T20 series (Independence Cup) between Pakistan and the World XI is tied at one-all with the final game to be played on Friday, the 15th of September, 2017.
Here is a look at top 5 talking points from the back to back to games that were played in Lahore during the past couple of days.
5.Not a Full House Yet
Despite it being T20 games and despite cricket returning to Pakistan after a long period of time Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore is yet to experience a full house. The fact that the games are being played on weekdays hasn’t helped the cause but more importantly it is the price of tickets owing to which a full capacity crowd is yet to be witnessed at the venue concerned.
Najam Sethi, Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has admitted the mistake in one of his interviews and hopefully, PCB will not repeat the blunder whenever there is another international game in the country.
4. Power Hitting Still a Problem for Pakistan
The likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Imad Wasim and even the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed are all good stroke players yet they are definitely not the kind of power-hitters that you normally see in modern cricket. As a matter of fact apart from Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik there is no one else who really has the ability of going big on a consistent basis throughout an innings.
Therefore, in the long run either Shehzad, Imad and Sarfaraz will have to raise their game or make way in the format for other young players who are capable of using the long handle to good effect.
3. Pakistanis Selectors Need to Pull Up Their Socks
It is just strange how Pakistani selectors have committed all sorts of mistakes during the last few years. Even during the ongoing series Pakistan has made strange decisions. For a start its just mind boggling why Muhammad Hafeez was dropped? In subcontinent conditions and in a team that is need of a power-hitter did he not fit well particularly, after the way he had played in his last game during the Champions Trophy, 2017 against India? There is may be a need to modify his role in the playing eleven but to discard a senior player like him without an explanation makes little or no sense at all.
Similarly, Faheem Ashraf too wasn’t given a fair chance and was dropped for the second game haphazardly. The case of Usman Shinwari getting nod ahead of Faheem or even Amir Yamin for that matter is also confusing as Shinwari is neither an all-rounder nor a better bowler than the other two all-rounders.
Pakistani selectors really need to pull-up their socks for games that follow after the series.
2. World XI Has Issues of Its Own
Like all World XIs from the past, the team that is touring Pakistan despite their victory in the second game is yet to gel together as a unit. Moreover, it is evident that the visitors have not been able to cope well with the hot and humid conditions of Lahore so far.
The aforesaid factors definitely give Pakistan a lot of hope ahead of the decider on Friday.
1. The Series Belongs to Babar Azam So Far
Having scored good runs and at a good pace too in both games, Babar Azam is a game away from claiming the man of the series award. A number of experts thought that his batting style did not suit the shortest format of the game however, he has proved them all wrong and is now only a couple of good series away from becoming Pakistan’ next “Mr. Reliable” in the middle-order.