What you want from an opener, everything Hafeez doesn’t do:
The tallest player to play at any major level before Mohammad Irfan arrived on the block was Will Jefferson. He was a 6'10 opening batsmen for Essex and Notts. Will had to retire in his early 30s because of a severe medical condition. He was always teased for being a batsmen with the sort of height he had. All the more reason Pakistan need to look after Mohammad Irfan as an exception. The slightest of injuries could be career threatening.
2 years to go till the World Cup. Being launched earlier today. Of course, there is a Champions Trophy, Asia Cup and another World T20 before that. Next round of qualification for associates is next month. It is round 5 of 7. By the end of the year, 2 associates will have been confirmed for the mega event. It should be interesting to see if New Zealand get to host the final in 2015, unlike 1992.
Sources close to Khelopakistan.com have informed us that Pakistan captain, senior statesmen and obdurate and versatile middle order batsmen, Misbah ul Haq is in talk with a couple of counties on a 3 year contract.
Plan to counter Dale Steyn
1) Play closer to the body (hold the bat inside the line)
2) Leave most deliveries outside the off stump which are shaping away, offer no stroke, get a feel of the pace and bounce of the surface. You should happily let it go by, however keep the bat close to you as a second line of defence if the inswinger darts back in so you have a chance of keeping it out if initially misjudged.
3) Play with soft hands to avoid the edges carrying, strong top hand, weaker bottom hand
4) Play it late, even when committing on the front foot
5) Occasionally give him the walk to put him off guard rather than just letting him set you up. This requires bravery and courage when doing it vs a bowler with such pace, however this is why it's a test. When you are taking all the momentum forward it is natural to have a waft and start feeling for it outside the off stump with all the momentum taking you forward. You can also be bowled as you struggle to keep out the yorker if the bowler slides one in as you have less time to play. You need to have this in mind and only do it on the odd ball.
6) If you keep fishing outside the off stump, take an off stump guard and leave anything outside the eye line. Make sure you get forward and the head doesn’t fall over to avoid LBW when Steyn bowls a straighter line if you are taking such a guard.
7) If the balls are angling in before moving away with the new cherry or with the help of overcast conditions,open the blade, BUT only inside the line, not outside the line of the off stump as this is what the slip cordon and outswing bowler want to see.
8) Be unflappable and ride your fortune, you will need it!
We will bounce back in Cape Town. The Misbah-Shafiq stand was reminiscent of Cook-Prior at Ahmadabad, not only in their approach, but also the situation of the game. Both came in defeated causes, however were crucial in minimising the humiliating, restoring pride and giving them some positives to take away with an eye on the coming tests. They have spent valuable time in the middle, kept South Africa in the field, made them work for their wickets, frustrated them greatly, taken the test deeper and lifted the morale of the camp. Misbah batted like a wall, glue, a rock, and battled for his runs which he does ever so well in a crisis when the side are up against it and undoubtedly helped the less experienced Asad Shafiq get through the extended evening session, who also defended tightly and stroked them nicely.