KARACHI- Pakistan Cricket team continued to endorse their reputation as being unpredictable, as they lost the second Test against the mighty South Africans by a heavy margin of an innings and 92 runs.
It was predicted by this correspondent in the earlier columns that the team lacks genuine opening batsmen and the way Azhar Ali is out of form, it would take a miracle to restrict South Africa from winning the second Test, unless and until some drastic changes are being made. Especially it was the need of the hour to replace Azha with Umer Amin, as Azhar has proved a big disappointment for the past several innings. But coach and skipper had other ideas. Pakistan's opening was exposed in the second innings of the first Test when both the openers flopped to score. Shan Masood and Khurrum Manzoor lack the basic technique required in 5-day cricket.
But as long as Moin Khan is with the squad one way or another, such childish and silly decisions would continue to pour in, resulting in embarrassment for not only the men in green, but also for the millions of cricket fans of the country. What was the purpose of including a genuine middle order batsman in the shape of Umer, who can also bowl and being the left handed batsman could pose a lot of difficulties to opponent bowlers, if he was not to get a chance to play.
The PCB had given number of chances to Adnan Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed. Both of them are big flops with willow and gloves. They had hardly managed to score few runs in number of innings. It was a very difficult tour and instead of going with the same combination, the PCB should have used common sense and recalled Zulqarnain Haider, who although committed a huge blunder by walking from the middle of the series against the same opponents at the same UAE venue, but since then he had suffered a lot and seek forgiveness on number of occasions. If tainted players could still have future in the national squad, then why Zulqarnain is being given such a rough and tough treatment despite the fact that he is the ideal replacement and could play a very significant role in helping the team with both behind and in front of the wicket.
To bowl out for only 99 runs in the first innings was a huge embarrassment for the team and it was not expected from Test players. It was not the extra-ordinary Proteas bowling, which led to the downfall. It was the poor and indifferent shot selection of the batsmen, which resulted in such a worst performance.
Junaid, Irfan, Saeed and Zulfiqar were really pathetic. It seemed they had completely forgotten how to bowl in a Test and the poor fielding also adds to the miseries of the green caps. Why such highly paid persons are being hired, who can't help the players to remove same flaws? These kinds of results could easily be achieved through an average coach with little spending.
Now after losing the second Test and leveling the series at 1-1, the all-important ODI series is just round the corner. Coach and captain must include the best playing XI to stand any real chance of beating their nemesis South Africa in the ODIS otherwise results would be beyond doubts and team and all fans had to be prepared for further miseries.