The architects of Pakistan’s dominance

Gautam Gambhir is castled by Junaid Khan and the Pakistan fast bowler (below) celebrates.-V. GANESAN Gautam Gambhir is castled by Junaid Khan and the Pakistan fast bowler (below) celebrates.

Setting Pakistan on the victory path was the outstanding form of its two players — Nasir Jamshed and Junaid Khan — who with their stellar performances galvanised the visitor’s dominance in batting and bowling, respectively. Both the players are left-handers and in their early twenties and lend the edge with exceptional abilities in their respective disciplines. By Amitabha Das Sharma.

PTI

The revival of bilateral cricket ties between old adversaries India and Pakistan seems to have rejuvenated the visitor more than the host. If it was about exposition of talents, Pakistan showcased a new creed of players who look like prospective stars, capable of taking up the yoke of the team’s future. The Indian story was just in reverse as the host bungled yet another series failing to piece together a success recipe.

The “transition period” theory that the home side has been putting as a reason to its successive failures has been extended inordinately. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again set about to introspect on the elusive win as Pakistan forged an invincible 2-0 lead in the three-match One-day International series. The sequel of setbacks for India now extends to losses in eight successive overseas Tests, a recent home Test series and now the reigning World Champion has been upstaged even in its domain of excellence. Compared to the dichotomy and discordance besieging the home camp, Pakistan gave a completely opposite picture, signalling the return of its old dominating self. This was driven home by the fact that Pakistan maintained its impressive record at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens — the venue of the second match of the series — and has now won all the four ODIs against India at the ground.

Setting Pakistan on the victory path was the outstanding form of its two players — Nasir Jamshed and Junaid Khan — who with their stellar performances galvanised the visitor’s dominance in batting and bowling, respectively. Both the players are left-handers and in their early twenties and lend the edge with exceptional abilities in their respective disciplines, having graduated from the Pakistan under-19 side. Jamshed hit back-to-back centuries while Junaid demolished the opposition batting, giving enough reason to convince everyone about him being the able disciple of the nonpareil Wasim Akram.

Jamshed, who hit a century in each of Pakistan’s two wins in the series, clearly proved his superiority over the Indian bowling attack. Till the start of this series Jamshed was the new opening option that Pakistan was looking at to stabilise its start. Now the 23-year-old, irrespective of what happens in the inconsequential final match of the series, will leave India as a player of great repute.

Jamshed joined the legendary Zaheer Abbas to become the only other player to score three centuries in a row in India-Pakistan One-dayers. Zaheer did it during the 1982-83 series while Jamshed’s sequence had a nine-month gap between them. He scored 112 against India in the Asia Cup in March, 2012 and went on to sustain the brilliant form with an unbeaten 101 as the two countries revived the rivalry in Chennai (on December 30). Jamshed got the hat-trick befittingly with a 106 as Pakistan accomplished the series win.

Jamshed clearly comes as a response to Pakistan’s search for a good opener. “Jamshed could be the solution to our opening problems. He is a special talent and we all want him realise his full potential. He is a bit injury prone and has to focus on this aspect a bit more,” said the former Pakistan captain and coach Intikhab Alam.

“He possesses a good cricketing mind and like a very good batsman knows which ball to hit and which one to leave. More importantly he believes in building an innings which is very essential for the team.”

Indian legends Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, wave to the spectators, as they take a ride in an open vehicle, during a feliciation programme, organised by the Cricket Association of Bengal.-PTI

“He is showing a lot of maturity. He is very talented and has a wide range of shots. But the brightest aspect of his performance is the temperament he is showing at this young age. This has impressed me most,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.

The Pakistan captain was clearly enthralled by the success of his pace attack, where the 23-year-old Junaid Khan was the main protagonist with his variety and accuracy. The left-arm seamer made good use of the conditions and made the famed Indian top-order look amateurish. He picked up seven wickets in two matches but his biggest achievement lay in the way he broke the spine of the opposition batting. “Our pacers, especially Junaid, are reviving the tradition of fast bowling which has been the strength of the team in the past. We had been struggling in the fast bowling department for some time.

“Like the former times, the contribution of the pacers is becoming a big reason for Pakistan’s wins,” Misbah said.

THE SCORES

Pakistan: N. Jamshed st. Dhoni b Jadeja 106; M. Hafeez b Jadeja 76; Azhar Ali (run out) 2; Younis Khan lbw b Raina 10; Misbah-ul-Haq lbw b Ashwin 2; Shoaib Malik c Yuvraj b Ishant 24; Kamran Akmal c Sehwag b Jadeja 0; Umar Gul b Ishant 17; S. Ajmal c Sehwag b B. Kumar 7; Junaid Khan (not out) 0; M. Irfan b Ishant 0. Extras (w-6): 6. Total (in 48.3 overs): 250.

Fall of wickets: 1-141, 2-145, 3-177, 4-182, 5-210, 6-210, 7-236, 8-249, 9-250.

India bowling: B. Kumar 9-0-61-1; Dinda 7-0-42-0; Ishant 9.3-0-34-3; Ashwin 10-0-49-1; Raina 2-0-13-1; Jadeja 10-1-41-3; Yuvraj 1-0-10-0.

India: G. Gambhir b Junaid 11; V. Sehwag lbw b Gul 31; V. Kohli c K. Akmal b Junaid 6; Yuvraj Singh c K. Akmal b Gul 9; S. Raina st. K. Akmal b Hafeez 18; M. Dhoni (not out) 54; R. Ashwin st. K. Akmal b Malik 3; R. Jadeja c Junaid b Ajmal 13; B. Kumar lbw b Ajmal 0; A. Dinda lbw b Ajmal 0; I. Sharma b Junaid 2. Extras (lb-4, w-14): 18. Total (in 48 overs): 165.

Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-55, 3-59, 4-70, 5-95, 6-103, 7-131, 8-131, 9-132.

Pakistan bowling: Irfan 10-0-46-0; Junaid 9-1-39-3; Gul 7-0-24-2; Hafeez 10-0-29-1; Ajmal 10-1-20-3; Malik 2-1-3-1.