Consistency needed

June 16, 2018

After comprehensively beating England in the first test by nine wickets at Lords, Pakistan lived up to their reputation in the second test at Headingley as England won by an innings and 55 runs. This is what Pakistan fans are now used to, the national team is fully capable of routing any team on its day but at the same time it is also capable of capitulating in spectacular fashion, like they did in Headingley. However Pakistan were quick to put the Headingley debacle behind their backs with a clinical performance against Scotland in the two match T20 series.
In the Leeds test, Pakistan who chose to bat after winning the toss couldn’t make the advantage count and like England in the Lords test could only post a miserly 174. The score was also achieved due to some resilient batting from the lower order lead by Shadab Khan who scored 56 runs. England punished Pakistan as their batsmen took to field and were helped by the Pakistani team with numerous drop chances. England posted a hefty first innings score of 363. It looked an uphill task for Pakistan to save the match from this point on but the way the team disintegrated must be a cause for worry. Only three out of eleven Pakistani players could touch the double figures and wickets felt regularly. Pakistan was bundled out for merely 134 runs as England claimed a resounding victory.
However, despite the loss Pakistan drew the two test series one each. Before the tour there was little expectation from the young team and Pakistan probably would have taken a drawn series. However, the loss also calls for some introspection. Although the young Pakistan team has some very talented players to go with some experienced test campaigners, the team combination doesn’t seem right. The form of Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed is also a cause for worry. The bowling department probably also needs a second look, as good as young Shadab Khan has been with the bat, it would be too early to expect him to deliver with the bowl like Yasir Shah has been doing for some years now. The inclusion of Hasan Ali based on his performances in limited over cricket also seems a hurried decision. The management will need to relook and fix the mistakes committed in the second test and make changes where necessary. Overall the short tour will greatly benefit the team, provided they learn from the mistakes.
The loss in the second test was followed up by clinical performances against Scotland in the T-20 arena.