The most significant lesson to be learnt from the first ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is that the contest was between a team whose leaders were focused and ready to compete and another whose top talent was neither.
If anything, Pakistan’s biggest hurdle in the match was their over-aggressiveness. Their three-pronged pace attack operated like the ultra-efficient law firm of Gul, Tanvir and Sami, except for the regular wides sprinkled with no-balls. The pitch was affording movement, but the bowlers tried to do more than was necessary against a lazy performance from the entire batting side, save Lahiru Thirimanne.
Pakistan has the luxury of possessing a formidable limited overs attack in Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi, and whenever someone else steps in (Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir right now) he is probably regarded as the weak link. Indeed, sometimes Hafeez and Afridi find themselves targeted by the opposition as they try to race through their combined 20 overs quickly and quietly in the middle of the innings. The point is that every bowler understands his role in the team and adjusts his tactics accordingly.
Gul and Ajmal have each earned a reputation that precedes them against most opponents. The other bowlers make no special attempt to induce big shots or challenge the batsmen with theatrics. They are the quiet workhorses – assassins who acquire scalps not by wickets but economy. The opponents often fail to realize the impact and effectiveness of the secondary spinners until they look at the final scorecard, and then count all the dot balls played straight back to the bowlers. They will study the match film and see the spinners ready to run-in before the batsman finishes rehearsing his previous stroke.
These are the tricks that will soon proliferate throughout the world. Some bowlers will always be treated as part-timers who can be exploited for runs. But most cricketers given the ball at the international level will have a bit of arrogance and overconfidence in their abilities, and they will not consider themselves hittable until they are hit. It takes a man who knows his limitations to thrive with them as Hafeez has, who has miraculously (but inevitably) risen to become the fourth-ranked bowler in the format. The lesson, as always, is to understand your role in the side.
Hafeez knows can be hittable, so he keeps to a simple length. His wisdom is Socratic in that he knows that he knows nothing. So, he stays well within himself. So few other second-tier bowlers have been able to understand and embrace this simple truth that could elevate their individual and team game.
It is easy to get dazzled by Gul and Ajmal – they are world-class talents. The team succeeds because the rest of the bowling squad understands this as well as the fans. Next time, pay attention to Hafeez, who takes as much pride and puts in as much work into his far simpler job.
The Pakistan batting side; now, that’s a different story.
A support cast as talented as the stars
Pakistan's bowling attack is potent because even lesser members know their roles perfectly.By Khurram Ahmed | Yahoo! Cricket – Sat 9 Jun, 2012 6:48 PM IST
- HYD won by 23 runsvs. RAJHYDMatch 68Fri, May 17, 2013Hyderabad, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- PAK won by 96 runsvs. PAKSCO1st ODIFri, May 17, 2013Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPakistan in Scotland ODI S...
- PJB won by 7 runsvs. DELPJBMatch 67Thu, May 16, 2013Dharamsala, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- live match NZ 153/4 (49.4 Overs)vs. NZENG1st TestLIVEENG 232/10;London, EnglandNew Zealand in England Tes...
- Upcoming matchvs. MUMPJBMatch 69Sat, May 18, 2013Dharamsala, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- Upcoming matchvs. CHEBLRMatch 70Sat, May 18, 2013Bengaluru, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- Upcoming matchvs. PAKSCO2nd ODISun, May 19, 2013Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPakistan in Scotland ODI S...
MORE TOP STORIES TODAY
Sreesanth and Chavan admit to wrongdoing; Police to widen probe. More » Cops turn their focus on team owners
Big win over Royals keeps Sunrisers alive. More » Hyderabad remain on track
New Zealand 153/4 at the end of the second day. More » Anderson bowls England back into Test
It needs more than BCCI's lip service to rid cricket of match-fixing. More » [VOX] Zero tolerance? Right!
Management of the controversy-hit franchise releases official statement. More » Royals' official stand
Hyderabad, May 17 -- By the time Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals headed for practice on Thursday evening, dark clouds had gathered over the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal. Apart from posing a rain … More » Post scandal, RR banking on skipper Dravid
The problem with IPL cheats is their greed for money can never be satiated. More » It’s time for the closing ceremony
Kings XI register seven-run win to stay alive. More » Punjab beat Delhi
Three Rajasthan Royals players have been arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing scandal. Here's the list of cricketers were involved in compromising the integrity of the game. Take a … More » Cricket's hall of shame
Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) Sunrisers Hyderabad will focus purely on winning the game against Rajasthan Royals Friday, without bothering about various calculations to reach the semifinals, chief coach Tom … More » Will focus purely on winning: Moody
The Delhi police revealed that specific on-field signals made by the three Rajasthan Royals players arrested for spot-fixing in the IPL, proved to be the clincher in establishing their connection to the … More » Signals from players gave them away
England make painful progress on rain-hit first day. More » Kiwis call the shots
Srinivasan conducted a press conference this afternoon. He reiterated that the BCCI would punish the perpetrators to the highest extent allowed within their rules, and that the IPL would go on because … More » 'We are shocked, but IPL will go on:'
The former IPl chief said he hoped the BCCI will do all that is required to root out corruption in the game. More » 'Hope BCCI doesn't bury corruption issue'
India, May 16 -- There have been spectacular batting displays in the league but to me the stand-out innings has to be Kieron Pollard's assault against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai. It was a knock that … More » Time to take bouncer out of cold storage
Game 66: Rajasthan lose by 14 runs. More » Mumbai on top after strong show
GAME 65 — Kolkata lose the plot after Yusuf's controversial dismissal. More » Pune complete Kolkata's final rites
'Now I'll now be extra careful' More » Yadav relieved as one-year ban is over
When Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils meet at the HPCA Stadium on Thursday they will do so with different mindsets. More » Rivals with different mindsets
England have won the toss and elected to bat. More » 1st Test Live: England vs New Zealand at Lord's
Dravid is shuffling his pack of cards very often and very quickly. More » Empowering people Dravid's style
Poor results expose cracks within the Kolkata set-up. More » Trouble in Eden?
India captain gifted one acre plot in Kanthitar near Ranchi More » Dhoni gets himself a new farmhouse
Mishra, Yadav and Bali will get another shot at their cricketing careers now. More » Relief for IPL trio as one-year ban ends
The Champions Trophy in England and Wales will be the last tournament in charge for Kirsten. More » Kirsten's parting gift from Steyn
England have been left in no doubt about what will be required of them in the first test against New Zealand starting at Lord's on Thursday. More » England must improve to beat feisty NZ
There is a great deal more to Ryan than his attractive posterior. More » I will get Tendo to review the story of my life
Kings XI coasted to victory in 18.1 overs for the loss of just three wickets. More » Bowling let down RCB down: Virat
"Idolising Wasim Akram and what he did, it has always been with me that I want to be a swing bowler," Boult told reporters at Lord's on Tuesday. More » Akram inspires New Zealand's Boult
Stuart Broad believes England's top-order batsmen hold the key to victory in their upcoming two-Test series with New Zealand. More » Broad wants England batsmen back in runs
Members of his age group - Ponting and Tendulkar - have struggled this year, but not Dravid. More » Age no bar for classy Dravid
The team spent their off day watching 'Shootout At Wadala'. More » KKR catch a film to beat stress
The left-hander smashed 85* to help his side chase down the 175-run target More » Gilchrist helps Punjab stun Bangalore
Afridi, Younis get top contracts. More » Pakistan players receive pay hike
Test opening batsman Alviro Petersen will replace Graeme Smith in South Africa's squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales next month. More » CT: Petersen replaces Smith
Presenting a list of men whose day jobs brought them more fame than their cricket careers. More » [LIST] They also played cricket
With the league set for a fresh auction next year, Gurkeerat hopes that he will still be a part of Kings XI Punjab. More » Gilchrist inspires young Gurkeerat