Australia beat Pakistan in the fifth and final one day international (ODI) on the back of 284-run opening stand between David Warner and Travis Head. Set a target of 370 Pakistan could only manage 312 runs. Babar Azam who was on his first tour of Australia hit a ton – only the second ever by a Pakistani batsmen in limited over format after the legendary Zaheer Abbas. Sharjeel Khan has also impressed during the series and notched up his third consecutive half century. The left handed batsman has looked very assured on this tour and has scored at a brisk pace, something that is rare for Pakistani batsmen of late. Earlier in the tour, Australia thrashed Pakistan in the test series, the series lost mean that Pakistan who had clinched the number one spot in test rankings has now slipped to number 6 in a matter of just a few months.
Pakistan has always been known to produce quality bowlers – be it the pacers or the spin bowlers. However, during this series Pakistan’s bowling attack was badly exposed. During the test series Wahab Riaz played all three tests and managed eleven wickets at an average of 36.36, Muhammad Amir also played three tests and took five wickets at an average of 60. Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali and Imran Khan all played a single match each there average per wicket was 43, 57 and 77. Yasir Shah, who looked menacing until before the England tour finished with a record of eight wickets at average of 84 during the three tests. Compare that to Australia who had Hazelwood, Starc and Lyon taking 15, 14 and 11 wickets at much decent average. Looking at the stats it is obvious that our weak bowling attack was one of the major reasons for our poor performance in the test series.
But two things must be taken into account, out batting was also not up to the mark (but much better than the bowling) and secondly that our fielding performance has been horrendous to say the least. A number of catches were dropped during the series that gave the impetus to Australia, as the saying goes catches win matches but the Pakistan teams seems unaware of the importance of good fielding. Sarfraz Ahmed also had a poor series behind the stumps and missed a number of chances. The combination of poor bowling and fielding were the main contributors to this shambolic performance. The bowling show has also raised questions regarding the performance of the bowling coach Azhar Mehmood, who allegedly is on quite a hefty pay package. As far as the one day team is concerned chances are that Azhar Ali will lose the captaincy with Sarfraz Ahmed seen as a potential successor. The wicket keeper batsman missed the limited overs matches but has previously made some promising knocks. His performance behind the stumps of late has been poor and making him captain at this stage would not be ideal. Pakistan’s woes in limited overs – where the team is ranked number eight are not entirely due to ‘captaincy’ decisions. As other teams around the world adopted an aggressive approach we were left far behind. At the moment we don’t have the right players to challenge the top teams in this format. Our bowling, fielding and the approach to batting all need a tremendous reshuffle. The dreadful tour might be over but fixing our team – especially the limited overs team will take both time and effort.
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