Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is And Abysmal Performance

Pakistan cricket team claimed victory agianst New Zealand in third T20I to avoid getting whitewashed but many questions still exist

Pakistan cricket team might have won the third and final of three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against New Zealand, but the overall performance gave birth to a lot of questions.

Yes, they spent nearly two weeks in quarantine after landing in New Zealand last month; yes, they lost their Captain Babar Azam just before the first international match of the tour; and yes, they will enter the Test series on December 26th without their most successful batsman, but would the result have been different had Babar Azam been there, and had they not spent more time in isolation than they did on the field?

Let’s try to find out where the Pakistan team management went wrong, and where they can do better before the start of the Test series.

Why did Pakistan bat first in the first two matches?

The biggest question that arises from Pakistan’s performance in the T20I series is – if Pakistan is more suited to chasing, why did the captain opt to bat first in the first two matches?

The management must have had an idea about the team’s capability because if they didn’t, they weren’t doing their job properly.

What is Misbah ul Haq doing when he is not the Chief Selector (Mohammad Wasim has been appointed for that position) or the Batting Coach (Younis Khan has replaced him)?

Isn’t he the Head Coach who should lead by example instead of literally pulling his hair out, once his players disappoint?

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Had Babar Azam been fit, batting or fielding first wouldn’t have mattered, but in his absence, why were the youngsters thrown in front of the Kiwis who were not just playing at home but also on a winning streak!

Is Mohammad Rizwan Misbah ul Haq’s answer to Adam Gilchrist?

Mohammad Rizwan neither opens the inning for his PSL team nor does he feature in their plans, yet he is part of Pakistan’s limited-overs side and shined in the third .

What’s shocking is the fact that Head Coach Misbah ul Haq sees an Adam Gilchrist in Rizwan who failed miserably with the bat in the first two matches, and discovered his form only after Pakistan lost the three-match series.

By scoring a quickfire 89 in a winning cause, Rizwan proved his elevation right but one hopes the coach doesn’t ask him to open the inning in the coming Test series, where he will be the wicket-keeper and the captain in the first match!

Ijaz Ahmed was not a player, he was a phenomenon!

Once upon a time, there was a player in the Pakistan side, who was hardly dropped in the latter part of his career.

His name was Ijaz Ahmed and his secret to success was simple – he would always score when there was an ax over his head, and win back the selectors’ trust only to disappoint them for a few matches, and then play a blinder to keep his place in the side.

His idiotic dismissals (including clean bowled, hilarious runouts, and caught behinds) were forgotten due to his match-winning knocks and that’s exactly how Mohammad Hafeez works.

Whenever the management wants him to say ‘I do’ as in retirement, Pakistan’s batsman strikes gold with the bat, and he did the same in New Zealand by scoring a quick-fire 99 not out and a responsible 41, that seemed unlikely when he was dismissed for a golden duck in the first match.

Until the next series, be it ODIs and T20Is, Hafeez will keep himself busy playing leagues around the world, and when the shadow of an ax would follow him, he will definitely score and keep his place. No wonder Ijaz Ahmed still lives in Mohammad Hafeez!

No wicket for the two Spinners from Pakistan!

Spinners from Pakistan have usually done well when it comes to playing in New Zealand, however, in T20Is neither Captain Shadab Khan nor Imad Wasim were among the wickets.

Even Kiwi spinners managed just wicket between them but the hosts never depended on their spinners in recent years, whereas Pakistan has.

Also disappointing was Imad Wasim’s attitude in the second T20I where he left the field without informing the captain and the disappointment there was when senior-most Mohammad Hafeez asked the skipper about the player’s whereabouts.

Was Imad angry about not being made the skipper in Babar Azam’s absence or displaying frustration on not getting enough chances, the management has to assess the situation and find out?

Why is Wahab Riaz in the side and Junaid Khan out?

Junaid Khan has always been a better bowler than Wahab Riaz for Pakistan cricket and must have been selected for at leas  T20I series in New Zealand ; he never won a jacket offered by Mazhar Majeed, took wickets in Mohammad Amir’s absence, and gave his 100% in the final XI.

Yet, he is out of contention and the always-expensive Wahab Riaz is in the squad for no reason.

Is he being rewarded for taking back his red-ball retirement or is he amongst the management’s favorite, that remains to be deduced but he certainly doesn’t deserve a place in the national T20 squad for his performance?

Not only was he the only bowler in team Pakistan in T20Is series against New Zealand  who went for more than 10 runs per over, but he was also the only one to bowl the most expensive over where he went for 19 runs in the second ODI.

This is not the first time he has been taken to the cleaners by the opposition – in his 36-match T20I career, he has gone for more than eight runs per over in 18 matches and his economy rate of 8 runs per over is anything but economic.

He has taken three wickets in an innings only twice, and if he can be selected for such below-average performance, why can’t Mohammad Amir or Junaid Khan who are far better bowlers than him were taken to New Zealand with team Pakistan for T20Is!

Shouldn’t the All-rounders be preferred over specialists in T20Is?

All-rounders are preferred over specialists in T20Is around the world but then Misbah ul Haq isn’t from this world, it seems.

Despite Iftikhar Ahmed scoring a century in the intra-squad match, despite Babar Azam being out of the side leaving the batting weakened, despite the fact that the Pakistan team couldn’t practice as much as they would have wanted to, he selected untested specialists over-tested all-rounders and the result is in front of all.

Faheem Ashraf’s batting and bowling were impressive while Iftikhar Ahmed kept his cool when the going got tough.

If anyone is to be blamed for team Pakistan series loss against New Zealand in T20Is, he is Misbah-ul-Haq who must be answerable for ruining a perfect cricket team with his biased and illogical decisions that seem to disappoint everyone, including himself!

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