Initial fielding bloomers no good omen for Pakistan

When Pakistan cricketers embarked on their English sojourn earlier this summer one of the areas they were likely to show improvement was supposed to be their fielding. But on their first important outing of what is a marathon tour, it was the one part of the puzzle that really let them down.

The tourists dropped five catches, four of them dollies, as Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook hit their first tons here at Lord’s.

It was perhaps a worse fielding display than the woeful performance given by the Englishmen in a Test defeat against Sri Lanka earlier this season and raised questions as to how the worldís second best Test team field like a bunch of farmers, as one British newspaper wrote here on Friday.

The Pakistani players arrived in England after several days of training in Lahore including a week with one of worldís best fielders ever — Jonty Rhodes. The former South African Test cricketer was hired by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the team came under scathing attacks for a spate of nightmarish fielding displays in the home series against India earlier this year.

Rhodes came to Pakistan for just two weeks in June and made it clear he had no magic wand. But he did hope that his tips would help the Pakistanis, not counted among the world’s best fielders, bring some improvement in the months to come.

So far they have achieved the exact opposite. The opening day at Lord’s brought the worst out of as far as their fielding abilities are concerned. It seemed that some of the players, especially Imran Farhat, were haunted by the curse of Lord’s as they let the easiest of catches slip out of their hands.

Former Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis, currently working as the team’s bowling coach, came out in the defence of his boys saying that Lord’s always does have an affect on the ones playing here for the first time. He also claimed that muggy conditions and colourful backdrops also pose a visibility problem for the catchers in cricket’s most famous ground.

It, however, didn’t really made sense to former England great Geoffrey Boycott. “If you can’t catch it, you can’t win it,” he told this correspondent. “There can’t be any excuses for the way they dropped such easy catches,” he said, adding that Pakistan are “excellent guests” because they allowed England post a good score.

Waqar said vice-captain Younis Khan’s absence due to injury was a double blow for Pakistan as he is the team’s best slips fielder. Younis missed the Test after failing to recover from a knee injury.

For a team that is without its main wicket-taking bowlers, Pakistan were expected to hold on to whatever chances that came their way. As commented by Mike Gatting, it is going to cost them in this Test and perhaps even the series.

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on July 15th, 2006 with no comments.
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