Pakistan at their anxious best

Pakistan vs. India Super Eight

(Photo Credit:Jiggs Images)

What promised to be an intense romantic tale turned out to be a sorry one-sided affair. Of all the times that India and Pakistan have clashed in the recent past, this one stands out as the most lacklustre display by Pakistan. Nerves got better of them yet again and they were spooked enough to throw it away without showing any real resistance. Pakistan were at their “anxious best” and that pretty much describes the day for them. More than anyone else it was the skipper Mohd. Hafeez who went into his shell and never really came out till there were no more Indians left at the Premadasa.

Virat played a beautiful and commanding innings yet again and it is hard to find a better batsman around. All due credit to him for his performance but for Pakistan the match was lost even before Virat took guard. The way Pakistan batsmen batted is hard to explain. They made part-timers look like genuine bowlers who could do no wrong, Yuvraj in particular. Yuvraj bowled a good spell but in between he bowled numerous half-trackers which were punched to extra-cover or third-man for singles. On another day these were six hitting deliveries, right over mid-wicket, at least 85 meters; ask Shane Watson and he would know.

Afridi’s promotion didn’t make sense at all given the fact that he is seriously out of form and has turned into a bowler who can (read may), bat a bit. Also, with him coming at 3, the overall batting order gets skewed and someone like an Umar Akmal then has to walk in at 7, well, you don’t want your class A batsman bat that low, do you. In T20 you cannot have people who chew up deliveries at the top; that puts tremendous pressure on the middle and lower order.

Another strategic error that Pakistan management has made in this tournament is leaving out a match winner of the class of Abdur Razzaq. He, in matter of few overs can turn a match on its head. Also, with his experience he can bring some calm to this highly effervescent Pakistan side that can so easily fall apart in crunch matches. They are one side who really need someone to ease out the things a little. Razzaq can be the man for this job.

India held their nerves and thus emerged winner. There is something special about this Indian side; with skills they have the temperament to conquer big matches. Both India and Pakistan have one game each to go in the Super-eights and these are must win games for them. India seems to be on a roll after this win and looks like beating South Africa. Pakistan however have to be back with their A game to be able to fight a tough Australian side on the Super-Tuesday.

Take a bow Yuvraj, you are a true champion!

Yuvraj Singh at Adelaide Oval

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was battling a rare germ cell cancer, the fighter was diagnosed with a tumour between his lungs; for him, it was life threatening and for his fans – shocking and awfully heartbreaking. Having gone through intricate medical procedures, after many long and tough months, Yuvraj Singh, arguably the toughest cricketer of our times has made a comeback to international cricket.

In a sportsperson’s life, nothing is worse than the sinking feeling of not being able to take the field and play due to some fatal injury, adverse health conditions or disability. So while Yuvraj’s body had to fight cancer his mind had to conquer this catastrophic feeling. And much to the belief of all his fans and anyone who knows Yuvi even remotely, he did triumph both. While chemotherapy did its bit on cancer, it was Yuvraj’s character, his passion for the game and longing for the cricket field that made him and the world see this day.

It was July 2002 at Lords in the Natwest Series final when the cricketing world witnessed a 20 year old fearless young man taking on a strong English bowling line-up to combat a mammoth target. This kid was Yuvraj Singh and he was helped in his effort by another very talented young cricketer Mohd. Kaif. That day we saw glimpses of the future of Indian cricket, just the way it would shape in the decade to come – intrepid, strong and very talented; through this exciting young cricketer – Yuvraj Singh.

Since that Lords evening in 2002, Yuvraj has played numerous brilliant innings of highest quality and authority to win matches for India in all forms. However his most memorable knock remains from the ICC T20 World Cup game at Kingsmead, Durban against England (he seems to have a special liking for the English) when he hit Stuart Broad for six consecutive sixes in an over.

He is a big match player and he has testified this in various major tournaments and yet again in the ICC World Cup 2011. Before the World Cup, he wasn’t in best of the form, but he raised his game and came back strongly to win India the World Cup; and himself – Man of the Tournament.

Winning the World Cup was huge. India danced, India roared, India bled blue. Celebrations were unprecedented and the mood across the country was dazzling. It was like whole of the India celebrating one grand festival. But when the news broke that Yuvraj was playing with symptoms of potential cancer, the world was taken aback. The warrior however was stoic as ever, he had a smile on his face and hope in his eyes.

People, he is back. The resilience he has shown during his terrible times says a lot about this man’s character. Take a bow Yuvraj, you are a true champion!