Shoaib Akhtar Online video Rating: three / five
Alastair Cook, the England captain, and Peter Moores, the England coach, will have some selection decisions to make ahead of the second test match of the ongoing series against India.
In the first match that had taken place at Nottingham, England did well. But, quite clearly, at times, they felt the need of a quality spinner. They had gone into the match with 4 fast bowlers and they had a couple of part time spin options in addition to that, but, the pitch there was dead and thus, the fast bowlers couldn’t hurry the batsmen.
A quality spinner could have done some damage though because of the rough that had been created in some parts of the pitch, but, England didn’t have anyone good enough to take advantage of that. They tried Root and Moeen, but, they were handled with comfort by the Indians.
Simon Kerrigan has been recalled into the test squad by the English selectors for the Lord’s test match. He had made his debut last year against Australia and had been pummelled by Shane Watson. He would certainly not have forgotten that yet.
At Lord’s, if he plays, he would have even a bigger challenge to face because the Indians are extremely good against slow bowling.
Lord’s is not known for producing turning tracks though. There might be slight wear and tear on the pitch towards the end of the match, but, generally, it’s a good batting track. So, the England team management might go with an all pace attack again keeping Kerrigan in the wings.
However, in case England goes with Kerrigan, it will be hard for them to decide whom to leave out because at Nottingham, there was hardly anybody in their camp who did poorly given the nature of the pitch.
MS Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai Super Kings, was not happy with the way some of the senior players of his team batted in the second qualifier of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League.
CSK lost that match against the Kings XI Punjab by 24 runs to get knocked out of the tournament. It was the first occasion in the last 5 years that they couldn’t make it to the final.
Punjab had posted a huge score of 226 runs on the board batting first and replying to that, the Super Kings had got themselves in a very good position at one point of time. They were 100 for the loss of 2 wickets after the competition of 6 overs and from there on, they needed just about 9 runs an over which was not such a difficult task on that placid Wankhede track.
But, some very irresponsible batting happened from the CSK side after that and they fell short of the target at the end.
Dhoni was particularly unhappy with the overseas batsmen who despite being so experienced didn’t show enough application and got out playing in weird manner.
Brendon McCullum got run out because he was not ready for the second run even after playing the ball quite a bit away from the fielder, while, David Hussey got out trying to play a half hearted pull shot.
CSK just had to keep their calm a little bit during that phase and they would have been able to cross the line.
Dhoni fought the lone battle at the end, but, that didn’t prove to be enough. He remained not out on 42.
CSK already has a couple of IPL titles under their belt though. They had won successively in 2011 and 2012.
Shoaib Akhtar has said that if he had been given the opportunity to play in the semi final match of the ODI World Cup 2011 against India, he would have made a significant mark and perhaps, would have been able to win it for his country.
That semi final match was played at Mohali, Punjab where the wicket had a bit of grass and thus, everyone was expecting the Pakistani team management to include Akhtar in the playing XI, but, surprisingly, they didn’t do so. They went with Umar Gul instead who proved to be very expensive.
Later on, explaining the exclusion of Akhtar, the Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi had said that the fast bowler was not 100% fit and thus, there was no point playing him in such a big game.
But, according to Akhtar, he was not unfit for that game. Talking to a Pakistani newspaper, he said that he had made the team management aware that he could get through the game, but, the management didn’t listen to him and didn’t give him the chance.
When asked about that semi final, the Rawalpindi Express said, “I was horribly disappointed when I was told there was no place for me in the XI. I could have done a lot of damage in the first few overs in that game. I had the idea how to put the Indian openers into trouble, but, unfortunately, I was not there on the ground to do it.”
When asked why there has been deterioration in Pakistan’s performances in the recent times, Akhtar said, “The players are not being managed well and that’s why, I have always said that the changes need to be made in the board. We need dignified and selfless guys to manage things at the top.”