Another kid on the block
Posted by Sports Snob on July 28, 2006
This will not be a post completely on the inept batting of the Pakistanis or the absolute lack of bite in their bowling attack. As was already mentioned, Gul and Sami strike as much fear in the hearts of the oppostion batsmen as Brer rabbit fears the briar patch and the Pakistani batsmen barring a couple, have no patience or technique to last on an Old Trafford pitch that was pacy and had bounce. Any bowler who could bowl a good line and length, was effective but my guess is, even I might have been effective given the batting skills on display. Harmison found the pitch to his liking and Panesar, the comical sardar, extracted turn and the bounce had the Pakistani batsmen top-edging the sweep shots that were attempted every ball.
The player who impressed me in the first over he bowled was Shahid Mahmood (and yes, he plays for England). The first ball was beautifully bowled. Upright seam, ball moving away in the air, bouncing on the seam and moving away off the wicket. Mohammed Yousuf was caught weaving mightily and wondering where the ball went. The second one, bounced on the seam, jagged back inwards and cut the batsman in half, passing between bat and body, over the stumps. Ball three kept low. Ball four, was the pick of the lot… rearing up off a good-length and the batsman was fending awkwardly. Mohammed Yousuf was inspecting the pitch and hoping that he had enough in him for more such hops. A wonderful first over and I was licking my lips in anticipation of a good battle between a young pace bowler and two classy batsmen.
The second over had a half volley driven between mid-off and cover, and India’s nemesis, Younis Khan was showing this youngster that test cricket is more than one good over. The next over saw two exquisite shots, a square cut and a brilliantly struck cover drive, both off the wide-as-The Great Wall bat of Mohammed Yousuf, putting the youngster in his place. He did have a chance grassed off his bowling but, he is going to have to learn to bowl a consistent line and length if he wants play at this level. He seems to have the ability to move the ball off the seam both ways and bowls at a brisk pace. He touched 90 mph, I think. I like what I saw of him today but then we have seen so many of these talented players lose their way: L.Sivaramakrishnan (a post some day on whether he is the best leg-spinner I might have seen operate), Ajit Agarkar in tests, Dominic Cork, Saqlain Mushtaq, Lance Klusener’s bowling.
This test will probably be England’s unless the Pakistanis recover some talent that they may have left behind at some countryside lodge.