Weekly Tidbits: Australia, Pakistan in more trouble, IPL auctions…

It was quite an interesting week of cricket – ODI cricket for a change, though I would have preferred to talk more about Test cricket.

South Africa mows down the clueless Australians

South Africa won the ODI series 4-1 thereby going on top of the ICC ODI rankings. The last match that was played last week had a new fast bowling hero – Tsotsobe – who ran through the Australian top and middle order after Hashim Amla‘s matured innings gave them a big total. Tsotsobe’s left arm seam bowling is a good asset to their attack which is otherwise dominated by right-armers.

Australia deep down under further

Soon after the South Africa’s successful visit, the Kiwis started their campain in Austraila on a winning note as well. In fact, the New Zealand’s batting lineup is not anything great but the Kangaroos were tamed by the Kiwis in the low scoring first ODI in Perth, mainly due to the lack of confidence with the Aussies.

The Australians managed to create controversy as well with their Wicket Keeper Haddin calling it all wrong and cheating the spirit of the game. With Symonds‘ radio outburst not settling yet, clearly Cricket Australia is not heading anywhere in particular. Moreover, Australia’s decision to rest Ponting came as a huge surprise as this could be the indication that the dashing Australian captain could be soon axed – from his captaincy responsibilities – ahead of the Ashes series in England during June-September this year.

Pakistan cricket in dolldrums

Though with the axing of Shoib Malik the Pakistan team as a whole may benefit, the governance of the PCB and its future took a beating when ICC decided that Pakistan will not get to host Champions Trophy due to the perennial security issues there. On top of that Miandad, the ever controversial Pakistan cricketer, has resigned from his role of the PCB Director. In another setback to PCB, a court has now suspended PCB’s ban on ICL players. With the injury scares, dope scandals still on and no team visiting Pakistan, it’s not going to be a good year for Pakistan Cricket.

India is doing good

The Indian cricket team touring Sri Lanka right now had a couple of good outings whereby they took a 2-0 lead. The Indians, despite lack of match practices, did not look rusty and the batting, bowling and some exceptional fielding of the younger side overpowered the Lankans. It looks like Mahendra Singh Dhoni hardly misses a toss.

The week ahead

England is taking on West Indies in their first test match on 4th Feb where as Australia will play New Zealand in Melbourne and Sydney this week. India’s remaining one dayers in Sri Lanka will also be completed this week.

The high-profile IPL Season 2 auctions will be kicked off this week as well. The main focus will be the English players who are first-timers at IPL.

On a low profile there’s also a Kenya-Zimbabwe match this week.

Looking forward to the exciting week of cricket, in particular the England – West Indies test match and Australia – New Zealand one-dayers.

Javed Miandad against Terrorism affecting India-Pakistan Cricket!

Last week a few great Pakistan cricketers have expressed their concerns about the impact of worsening political ties between India and Pakistan affecting cricket! Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad were the notable voices amongst them.

Miandad, the newly appointed, Director General of PCB felt that ‘Both India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism and cricket will bridge the gap between the two nations’.

I personally feel that the series should go ahead despite sentimental reasons and terrorism. Pakistan has lost control over its terrorist and fanatic outfits and hence there’s no point in cricket getting affected due to this. For that matter, even internal politics and terrorism is found in abundance in India as well.

My only point is that – Miandad – who was infamous for his on and off-field misbehavior as a player and otherwise may not be the ideal person to talk about terrorism and good politics. A couple of years ago, Miandad’s son got married to the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter and Mr. Miandad had clicked snaps with all possible criminals that caused the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993. It feels funny when those who party with underworld dons and gang leaders talk about good side of politics and cricket!

5 reasons why Geoff Lawson will go out soon!

Geoff Lawson, the coach of the Pakistan cricket team, is in the focus for wrong reasons after creating a scene in the post match press conference yesterday. The ex Aussie test player apparently got angry with the media personnel who were ready to pounce on him following consecutive losses suffered at the hands of India and Sri Lanka.

While Geoff Lawson may have been a very good fast bowler for Australian test team years ago, I doubt whether he was the right pick to coach Pakistan. The following are the reasons why he would not last long in the sub-continent.

1. In the past one year there was not any signs of exceptional performance from the Pakistan team except for reaching the Twenty-20 worldcup final. Pakistan lost both the test series they played against S.Africa at home and India in India. They had a winning streak of 12 ODIs in a row but 11 of them were against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

2. Other sub-continent coaches like Bob Woolmer, Tom Moody, Dave Whatmore and Greg Chappel were emotionally matured to handle the press, tough math situations and the fanatic fans. Geoff is not tough enough as he was always found either too excited or disappointed in the dressing room during tight matches.

3. Geoff had the worst timing to take over as coach, after Pakistan lost their main batsman (Inzamam) in the form of retirement, got a not-so-natural leader as the new captain and lost edge as their fast bowlers are either not the best around or not available to play due to various scandals. In addition, the selection policy and roles have always been an issue (Wonder why Shoaib Malik should captain the side while somebody like Younis Khan is there in the team)

4. At the moment, what Pakistan needs is probably a homegrown coach who can deal with the local sentiments better and will be under less pressure compared to a foreign coach. We don’t want anybody to have the same fate as Bob, right?

5. Geoff is in the same situation as Greg was in 2006. Some straight wins initially was to be followed by controversies along with governance issues with the respective cricket bodies. At the end it is the (foreign) coach who becomes the scapegoat. Everybody else will be always right!

According to me the best coach for Pakistan (and even for India) would have been somebody like Tom Moody who was so good and matured in handling the fans and press as he was with players. Is he still available?