Key takeaways for Pakistan from West Indies T20 series

WHAT MADE PAKISTAN SOAR

SKILFULL BOWLING

  • Shadab Khan, only 18 years of age, announced his arrival in PSL when he bamboozled batsmen with his legspin and a googly most could not pick. He had a dream debut against the WI when he took 3 wickets for just 7 runs and ended up getting the Man of The Series award for his scintillating performance with the ball taking 10 wickets in 4 matches & winning matches with his sharp turn & guile. What’s even more exciting about him is that he can prove to be a useful lower order batsman. He has shown glimpses of his batting in PSL when he made that 42 against the Qalandars and has demonstrated great agility in the field too. One hopes that he is groomed properly because he looks to be one for the future.
  • Hasan Ali is one bowler who again can be termed as a PSL find – he rose to fame with his performance for Peshawar Zalmi but has only improved ever since. Not only has he increased his pace slightly, his biggest quality seems to be his great cricketing mind combined with his variations in his bowling. He seems to be a great death bowler as he has all the tricks of the trade, including a great yorker, slower one and the ability to consistently bowl at the stumps. In the last T20 against the WI he bowled two maidens in a row and got the WI at sea with his inswing.

AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE FIELD

  • There’s a reason why Ian Bishop tweeted that this is the best Pakistani fielding unit that he has seen in a while. Barring Kamran Akmal, who has always been behind the stumps and Sohail Tanvir who struggled to pass the fitness test, the infusion of youth has brought an evident improvement in the field. Not only that, the management conducted intense fielding drills before the series in the camp held at Gaddafi Stadium and all the hard work seems to be paying off. The addition of Fakhar Zaman, Rumman Raees & Shadab combined with Malik, Shehzad and Imad Wasim make for a decent fielding unit. Catches were taken and boundaries were stopped, with players diving around showing more agility in the field.

THE LEADERSHIP OF SARFRAZ AHMED

  • Sarfraz’s positive captaincy brought life to the field. Sarfraz was engaging with all his bowlers, bucking them up, giving his suggestions and attacking when he should have by bringing fielders close in to apply pressure on the batsmen. While at times he expressed his anger over poor deliveries he kept all on their toes and guided the young Shadab to not overuse his googly in his spell. He was also pretty neat behind the stumps and kept well against the spinners, an area that required a lot to be desired in the previous games.

AREAS OF CONCERN

LACK OF A POWER HITTER

  • The batting still remains an area of concern as Pakistan were unable to make anything beyond 137 in the four T20’s they played. While Babar, Malik and Sarfraz form a solid middle order, Pakistan are lacking a player who can clear the boundary and get them quick runs in the powerplay. There’s always that talk of missing a player like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq who would slog at the end and get quick runs. Evin Lewis from West Indies demonstrated some spectacular power hitting and in this age of the fast brand of cricket. Pakistan needs to dig deep and search for new players in the domestic or develop the likes of Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz.

OPENING PAIR

  • Ahmad Shehzad scored a useful fifty in the final T20 while Kamran Akmal managed to score 48 in 37 balls in the third but these were the only noteworthy performances in the entire series by the two batsmen. Whether this is the right combination at the top is debatable but having lost Sharjeel Khan, Pakistan are struggling to get off to a flying start to give the middle order a platform to build on. Kamran Akmal coming at the back of a fine PSL performance has struggled on field and the thirty-five year old will need to score consistently to cement his place in the side.

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