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Javagal Srinath

India must overcome the 'Afridi effect'

April 16, 2005

In Kanpur, the firebrand Pakistani batsmen settled scores with India within the first hour of their batting. No fielding side can survive such an onslaught, that too with such brutality.

Pakistan's batting strategy was very clear. Their aim was to attack the Indian bowlers into submission. They knew that in such a situation, the bowlers will go bereft of ideas and even the most experienced ones would bite the dust. These types of wickets and Afridi's style of batting might cause serious threat to a bowler's career.

The question is, can Afridi do it consistently? Out of the five matches so far, Afridi failed in the first three and succeeded in the next two. While batting, he takes enormous risk and even puts his own cricket on the line. Unless the team management completely understands the probability of his successes as well as his failures, it is hard to play such players in the side.

I am dead sure that Bob Woolmer considered all these factors before sending this Pathan to open the innings. A player like Afridi should be assessed only at the end of the series. Consistency has a different meaning for players who base their game on pure power. One must completely endorse and appreciate the interview in which Afridi said that his objective is to always play for the team irrespective of his own personal standing in the game.

The Indian team would have had a few plans to counter the 'Afridi effect'. The way he goes about his batting gives an impression that he could get out any moment. But if that moment arrives a little late in the innings, then Afridi has won the match for Pakistan.

Keeping him on the back foot seems to be the ideal line but one has to see the bounce of the wicket to force him on to the back foot. May be, consistently cramping with the ball coming into him from the just short of length area could to be a good ploy. Indian bowlers should sort out Afridi instead of waiting for him to make mistakes.

The first hour in the morning at Kanpur proved crucial with the moisture helping the bowlers with sufficient lateral movement. Naveed Rana, by far the best bowler in sight in both the teams, bowled with enough conviction and belief. It is ultimately the attitude which gives the leading edge to one's performance. Even Sami has not been able to repose enough confidence like what Rana has done on this tour.

Sami is no doubt a better talent with more pace and bounce. The only difference is the ability to adapt and understand the limitations. On certain wickets, a fast bowler may have to curtail the pace in order to not to give the batsmen a chance to use the pace of the ball. Rana has progressed faster than Sami in this tour.

Rahul and Kaif once again reiterated how a good partnership brings back lost hopes. I only wish Yuvraj stayed a bit longer as the situation presented a great opportunity. Yuvraj has too many shots for a ball. He is an immensely talented player but somehow finds it difficult to hold back and regulate the innings. With the start he got he should have got a big score under his belt.

Top executives of both the nations will watch the final ODI in Delhi. Inzamam has said earlier in the series that he would want to deliver the cup to his President on this occasion. The stage is set for Inzy and his boys to make it a reality. We will have to wait and watch whether the men in blue can stop it.

Srinath's previous columns:
- A break will benefit Ganguly
- The toss is proving decisive
- Declining role of bowlers is worrying
- Dhoni should have been spotted earlier
- Pakistan should reconsider batting order
- India need to contain Afridi
- Instability showing in the Indian team
- Much ado about Bhajji's 'doosra'
- Sachin's partnerships with Rahul were crucial
- Looking for a fifth dimension in bowling
- A story of courageous fighting

Pakistan's tour of India: The Complete Coverage | More Columns

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Sub: Srinath's strange argument!

Srinath, in his column, argues that Afridi cannot be consistent with his over-aggressive approach. What would he say of some Indian batsmen who bat slowly ...

Posted by Sridhar Sundaram


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