The Pakistan one-day blueprint

Despite their recent win, which we still haven't written about, England are absolute garbage when it comes to one-day cricket. They definitely give the impression that they don't know what they're doing. They certainly don't know who they want doing it. We can help on the first count, but as for the staff - England would do well to find players of the standard contained within our example.

We always thought that Pakistan's one-day side of a few years back had the game pretty much sorted. They opened with Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi. Two batsmen on the combustible side. One unparalleled for sheer six-hitting destruction, the other a certified master, who might not reach quite the same level of wild, thrashing abandon, but who could maintain top gear for much longer.

Following them were some batsmen. Probably three of Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and the then Yousuf Youhana. They would play the ball around sensibly for twenty-five or thirty overs, keeping wickets in hand for the final onslaught. Then whoever was batting with Inzy would run him out and the fun would begin.

Batting at six, seven, eight and nine would be the assault team: Azhar Mahmood, Abdul Razzaq, Moin Khan (or maybe Rashid Latif, depending on the politics of the moment) and finally Wasim Akram. These guys would attempt to double Pakistan's score before the end of the innings. They'd attempt this continually, so they'd still be trying to double the score off the final ball of the innings. It's not possible, but they had a damn good go.

Bowling-wise, Wasim and Waqar would decapitate the opposition batting line-up. Then Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq would keep it tight for a bit, followed by Saqlain Mushtaq and Shahid Afridi. The style of bowling kept changing and the batsmen could never settle. Wickets might fall, or if they didn't, the run-rate would climb. Then when the batsmen thought they were getting set and preparing themselves for a final fling, the coup de grace: Wasim and Waqar would return. Pakistan would win.

Now all England need to do is find 11 players capable of putting this into practice. We reckon they've got one: Paul Collingwood in the middle-overs accumulating role. Maybe Chris Read, actually. He's got a bit of the Moin Khan about him.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

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