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Monday, 9 January, 2012
kvitova primed for australian open Page 21
cook hits 76 as england crumble in tour opener ScOREBOARd Icc cOMBInEd XI, 1st innings: 281 (c. Viljoen 98, Mohammad Shahzad 51, B. Rankin 43; S. Broad 3-42, g. Swann 3-99) EngLAnd, 1st innings: A. Strauss c Haq b Hassan 17 A. cook c Shahzad b Viljoen 76 J. trott c Shahzad b Hassan 1 15 k. Pietersen c Shahzad b Rankin 3 I. Bell c Shahzad b Rankin E. Morgan c Stirling b nabi 1 S. davies lbw b Haq 12 S. Broad c Porterfield b nabi 19 g. Swann not out 14 12 J. Anderson not out 15 EXtRAS: (b8, lb4, nb 2, w1) 185 tOtAL: (for eight wkts dec) fall of wickets: 1-44 (Strauss), 2-54 (trott), 3-107 (Pietersen), 4-121 (Bell), 5-126 (Morgan), 6-132 (cook), 7-159 (davies), 8-159 (Broad). BOWLIng: Hassan 11-4-26-2 (w1), Viljoen 11-1-42-1 (nb2), nabi 14-3-42-2, Rankin 16-3-49-2, Haq 3-1-14-1 Overs: 55 cOMBInEd XI 2nd innings: W. Porterfield c davies b Anderson 0 0 P. Stirling lbw b Broad 31 k. coetzer b Anderson Saqib Ali c davies b Broad 2 11 c. Williams c Bell b Swann 34 Mohammad Shahzad not out Mohammad nabi not out 9 3 EXtRAS: (lb1, nb2) 90 tOtAL: (for five wkts) fall of wicket: 1-0 (Porterfield), 2-2 (Stirling), 3-8 (Ali), 4-31 (William), 5-71 (coetzer). BOWLIng: Anderson 12-6-29-2, Broad 9-5-15-2 (2nb), Swann 10-1-33-1, finn 6-3-12 0 Overs: 37, toss: England.
DUBai: england Xi cricketer alastair cook plays a shot during the second day of a three-day practice match between the england Xi and icc combined Xi. AFP DUBAI AfP
Opener Alastair Cook was the only batsman to get some good practice as England's batting crumbled against some spirited ICC Combined XI bowling in their three-day tour opener here on Sunday. The left-hander held the batting during his patient knock as none of the England batmen could score big on a slow Global Cricket Academy pitch, spurning a good chance ahead of the first Test against Pakistan starting here from January 17. Cook added 53 for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen (15) before England declared their first innings on 185-8. Combined XI finished the second day on 90-5, having an overall lead of 186. They scored 281 in their first innings. Resuming at 16-0, England had reached 44 when skipper Andrew Strauss (17) fell to Afghanistan paceman Hamid
Hassan who finished with 2-26. Hasan also dismissed Jonathan Trott (one) with a beautiful delivery, caught behind by his fellow Afghan Mohammad Shahzad. Cook also fell caught behind off Namibian Christi Viljoen. Besides Pietersen and Trott, Ian Bell (three) and Eoin Morgan (one) also failed to get going. Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi finished with 2-42 while Irish paceman Boyd Rankin took 249. William Porterfield and Paul Stirling flopped again as both failed to score in Combined XI's second knock, and it was left to Kyle Coetzer (31) and Shahzad (34) to keep the Combined XI in a position to give England a stiff target.
pakIStan v enGland 2011-12
Misbah not ready to relinquish ‘safety first’ DUBAI
AKISTAN captain Misbah-ulHaq has said he would rather win matches than worry about maintaining a balance between attack and defence. Though Misbah led Pakistan to six wins in 10 Test matches in 2011, there has been some criticism that he adopts a safety-first approach as captain. "Cricket these days should be taken up with a balanced approach," Misbah said at the end of a four-day training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium organised to help Pakistan prepare for their upcoming series against England in the UAE. "[But] it's better to win by playing defensively, instead of losing by playing aggressively. It's all about the situation; what you are required to do or not do in a particular scenario." The camp in Lahore mainly focussed on the bowlers and entailed strenuous fielding drills at the beginning of each day, as well as mental strengthening sessions for the players. Among the batsmen, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez were spotted having intense sessions in the nets. A big positive to come out of the camp was that fast bowler Junaid Khan, who suffered an abdominal muscle strain during Pakistan's recent one-day series against Sri Lanka, was declared fit to play. The players have now dispersed and will reconvene on January 9 to leave for the UAE, with the first Test to begin on January 17 in Dubai. England are the No. 1 Test team in the world according to the ICC rankings, but Misbah said his team would not be intimidated by their opposition's reputation. "My
approach is simple in cricket: when you go onto the ground, give your 100% and focus on your performance. Forget about who the opposition is, do what you can do right, play tough cricket and then you look at the results. When you do all these things right, results will be in your favour." While fast bowler Aizaz Cheema had said the conditions in the UAE are similar to those in Pakistan, Misbah said, based on his experience of playing in the UAE, both batting and bowling will be a challenge. "If you look at the conditions in the UAE, it's difficult for bowlers to take wickets, it's also difficult for batsman to score runs because of the slow pitches where the ball doesn't come onto the bat. It will be a challenge for both teams; both departments will have to work hard. "England is a thoroughly professional team, and we have to put in real hard
work to score runs against them and will have to bowl up to the mark to bowl them out." The Decision Review System (DRS) is a welcome addition to the series, he said. "I always say it (the DRS) gives both teams a chance because umpires are also human-beings and they can make mistakes sometimes. This is an option for both batsmen and bowlers to help rectify the mistakes of the umpires. I am always in favour of this superb innovation. No doubt it needs better accuracy but I still believe it's quite helpful for the teams." Pakistan had an impressive run in 2011; they did not lose any of the Test series they played and reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. They have been helped by consistent allround performances, Misbah said. "If you look at our recent performance, Pakistan is doing well in every department: batting, spin bowling, fast bowling. We do lack [a bit] in fielding and there are a few lapses, but overall every department is doing the required hard work. Against top teams you can't depend on a specific department, you have to perform well in every department to compete.
Younus poses the greatest challenge to England CoMMent SCYLD BERRY
HE veteran batsman's ability to scrap and take on the short ball will be a huge asset as Pakistan attempt to rebuild after the damage caused by the spot-fixing scandal Since England and Pakistan last met — or acrimoniously clashed — in September 2010, Pakistan have assembled a virtually new team. It is just as good as their previous team in cricket terms and better, one trusts, in ethical terms. Pakistan concluded their training camp in Lahore and will fly to Dubai for their Test series against England. The ‘host’ country will be favourites to win the one-day series of five 50-over internationals, and while England have to be favoured to win the three-Test series, it is not by much: at the moment 1-0 to England looks the likeliest result. This is a remarkable tribute to Pakistan’s ability to regenerate their cricket, thanks to their depth of resources, and makes you wonder what the Test rankings would be if the whole world were at peace. Take away all but three players from England or India or any other country, and you would not have a team that could win six and lose one of their next 12 Tests, as Pakistan have done since their captain Salman Butt orchestrated the spot-fixing in the Lord’s Test of August 2010. Pakistan’s new team could even claim to be better than the one they have replaced, and not simply on ethical grounds. They are stronger in one particular respect: they have a veteran at number four who has been shoring up a middle order that was decidedly flaky when England won 3-1 in his absence. This veteran batsman is the hawk-
like Younus Khan, who has been averaging 78 in Tests since then. Falconry was the pastime of the few inhabitants of the United Arab Emirates before oil was discovered in the 1950s
and Dubai was turned from a village up a creek into a mass of six-lane highways and tower blocks; and Younus has the look of a bird of prey, and the ability to feast insatiably on loose bowling as if it
were carrion. Younus has the highest average of any Pakistan batsman ever, the only one to reach as high as 53. This is due in some small part to his last innings, an unbeaten double-century against Bangladesh, and should not be interpreted to mean that he is Pakistan’s finest batsman ever. But he is up there with Javed Miandad and Mohammed Yousuf, Inzamam ul-Haq and Zaheer Abbas and Hanif Mohammad, which is enough to make him England’s key opponent in the coming series. Pakistan’s bowling will be roughly equal to England’s. It is their batting which is more questionable, more fragile and inexperienced, and Younus has been the one who has been holding it together. He has scored more Test centuries than everyone else in the team put together, and they usually aren’t small ones. He has already played nine Tests in the Gulf (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah), more than anybody else. He does not ooze serenity at the crease like Inzamam or Yousuf, nor does he have the grace of Zaheer. Younus scraps like Miandad, without prompting the need for UN peace monitors and conflict-resolution experts to be on hand. Above all Younus, having played abroad so much during his 34 years, is far more accomplished than his teammates against the short ball, which will be one of England’s main weapons, at least when the ball is new. He can play off the back foot, cut and pull — which will enable him to act as the human shield for Asad Shafiq at number six and Adnan Akmal, the new keeper at number seven, who will be prime targets for England’s pace bowlers. Younus missed the 2010 tour of England because he had been banned by
the Pakistan board for an indefinite period after their tour of Australia earlier in the year. Being banned by the Pakistan board should not be considered a stigma; more often it is a badge of honour. Younus was accused of ‘infighting’ in Australia, but anyone who cared about his country might have taken exception to the dreamy captaincy of Yousuf, who led Pakistan to defeat in every competitive game. Rare in Pakistan, Younus is one of those senior players who has been the captain — indeed he led Pakistan to victory in the 2009 World Twenty20 in England — but who doesn’t rock the boat. He is a team man to the extent that he is an excellent slip-catcher, arguably the best Pakistan have had. In his last Test, even though 34, the hawk flew from slip to gully to take a right-handed catch at maximum stretch off a spinner that was hailed as the catch of the century. Younus has managed to survive so long by being his own man within the team. The dynamics of the Pakistan team are traditionally a division between the Punjabi speakers of Lahore (Butt and his two imprisoned bowlers, Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif, are all Punjabis) and the Urdu speakers of Karachi, but with an increasing component of Pushto-speaking Pathans who go their own way. Younus, the senior batsman, and Umar Gul, the senior pace bowler, are both Pathans from the North-West Frontier Province. They have avoided being dragged into the games within the game, and they have led, if not the renaissance of Pakistan cricket, then its promising revival. Subdue Younus, and England will do better than 1-0. (Telegraph)