ICL: Indian Cricket League

Butter Fingers, Over Stepped legs

Written by Kashif Aziz on January 31st, 2006   (686 views)

It is said that any team playing against Pakistan has advantage of an extra player and that is Mr. Extra. Our laxness in fielding and bowling is almost legendary now. Taking current test match in Karachi as an example, India gave 5 extras in our first innings and we, in contrast, gave 28 runs including 17 no balls, 7 from Razzak, 4 from Shoaib and 5 from Asif.

It’s difficult to remember a time, writes Osman Samiuddin, when Pakistan hasn’t been so generous with dishing extras out. Even if you take leg-byes out of the equation - as a transgression it is a trifle unfair to attribute it to the fielding side - Pakistan have conceded, on average, nearly 17 runs per innings in their last 15 matches. Twelve times they overstepped the mark in this innings and over that period they have done it 21 times per match.

How much a coach can do about it is open to question, which is why the sample of 15 Tests is a useful one; that is the time Bob Woolmer has been in charge. In 12 Tests before that Pakistan were also conceding over 18 no-balls per match and roughly 22 extra runs per innings. For all the aspects that have improved within the side, basic bowling and fielding disciplines have ostensibly not done so. In any situation, such indiscipline is ill-affordable but in one as taut and initially low-scoring as this, the profligacy is inexcusable and potentially fatal.

Dropping catches doesn’t help much either; Pakistan dropped four today, including Irfan Pathantwice before he was on double figures. One chance went yesterday, a few more went in Lahore and Faisalabad, seven went in one innings against England in Faisalabad recently and several have gone in the past year. As a habit, it isn’t the brightest one, especially when you’re looking a bowler short as they did against the Indian tail and your spearhead is, for reasons best known to nobody, insisting on pitching the ball short on a pitch offering help to those who pitch it up.

When these questions will be raised depends on what happens over the next three days. If Pakistan turn their position of strength into a win, Farhat’s bravado might herald the first one sooner rather than later. Anything else and their wastefulness will come under increasing scrutiny.

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Technorati Tags: Bob Woolmer, Irfan Pathan, Lahore, Faisalabad

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 and is filed under General.

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