The tales of Pakistan’s giant killing propensities are as famous and rich as history of Pakistan Cricket itself. In fact, Pakistan itself is a mysterious giant in itself which goes through moments of self inflicted hara-kiri from time to time and then again takes giant leaps chasing greatness.
The return of Cricket to their nation has been the lift that they had been looking for since the ghastly incident involving the Sri Lankan Cricket team in 2009. In a great way, it earmarks the Cricket administrators for special words of praise as they have finally been successful in making Cricket teams play in Pakistan after a long and painful hiatus.
In a period dominated by stunning fourth innings chases in Test Matches, the final day of the second Test Match between Pakistan and South Africa at Rawalpindi had all the condiments of becoming yet another stellar fourth innings run chase. But, it turned out to be a clinical performance by the home team as they beat The Proteas by 95 runs and won the historical series 2-0.
Surely, the team is nowhere near reaching the finals of the World Test Championship to be played at Lord’s. Nor have they beaten a top side like Australia in their own backyard.
So, what is so special and new?
The side has found a bankable wicketkeeper-batsman, Shaheen Shah Afridi is finally living up to the expectations as a quality left arm Pacer and the fielding standards have improved as well.
The emergence of Mohammad Rizwan as a dependent glovesman and a sturdy batsman has given Pakistan the right kind of balance. Pakistani cricket has never been blessed with a dynamic wicket keeper batsman akin to Rishabh Pant or Adam Gilchrist who could change matches. But, in Rizwan there seems to be a street smart cricketer with the ability to play meaningful innings under tough circumstances. This augurs well for the side in a great way especially for the long-term potential.
Mohammad Rizwan is a zestful character behind the stumps who is slowly but surely garnering quite a lot of interest because of his temperament and solidity. His obdurate innings of 115 unbeaten runs in the recently concluded series against South Africa prevented a potential second innings collapse in the second test match at Rawalpindi.
Though, it has to be said that with all the talent that he possesses, he has hardly justified his talent in the shorter formats of the game. But, with the confidence gained from a rare series victory at home and having contributed in a great way, Rizwan can charter a new course for himself thereby helping Pakistan’s cause in all the formats.
The special ten-wicket haul by Hasan Ali, the comeback man and the re-emerge of Fawad Alam also supports the narrative that Pakistan is no longer willing to jettison talented players, rather the management is keen on dealing with players in a more welcoming way. More importantly, they look like a happy bunch of players while representing the nation.
All these facets are encouraging signs.
Yes, for sure.
Additionally, it will be interesting to note how Babar Azam progresses as a Pakistan captain as he has some tough assignments to face very soon.
Going by his potential both as a leader and as the best batsman of the team, he is assured of a longer stint as the leader of the team.
Pakistan got a lot of things to look forward to in the times to come.