Monday, November 06, 2006

Who won the Bangalore Test in 2005?

Reader Farooq is pissed. He thinks Imran Khan is off the handle for thinking Sami won the Bangalore Test, pointing out the fact that Younis Khan scored more than 350 runs in the game while being dismissed once (read his comment in response to the post).

Here's my opinion on the matter: bowlers win tests, batsmen only set them up. The only exception to this rule is when a side is chasing more than 300 in the fourth innings and someone plays a blinder (see: Lara, Sir Brian Charles. 1999, Barbados). So I won't say Younis won us the match, but he did definitely played the biggest role in giving our bowlers something to work with.

But have a look at the scorecard of that game. Our best bowler in that game was Dani, who took 7 wickets, including Sehwag, Dravid and Ganguly in the first innings. Our second best bowler in that game was Afridi, whose match figures were 5-43. His wickets included Tendulkar (twice), Laxman and Ganguly. Sami was only our third best bowler. He too took 5 wickets but at a cost of 190 runs. Who were his victims? Gautum Gambhir (twice), Dinesh Karthik (twice) and Irfan Pathan. He deserves respect for getting through 55 overs. But did he win us the game? Hell, no.

Let's assume for a second, for the sake of argument, that Imran is right. Let's say Sami won us the game in Bangalore. My question would then be: so what? Salim Malik won us the 1994 series against Australia. How about we call him back? What about Mushtaq Ahmed, who won us a couple of games on the England tour of 96 and a Test in South Africa in 98? Let's bring him back too. Remember all those great innings by Azhar Mahmood? Get on the phone, tell him to get his ass back from London: he's playing next week against the Windies.

Sami is a crap bowler. He is a really crap bowler. It's not because Bob Woolmer messed with him. It's not because he never gets a good total to bowl at. It's not because he changed his pace, or his run-up, or his hair style. It's because he's crap. Sometimes you're crap simply because you're crap. Sami is in that category. He's been crap both home and away. He's been crap against good teams and bad teams. He's been crap on seaming pitches and flat pitches. He's been crap against right handers and left handers. He's been crap when our batsmen have put a score on the board and when our batsmen have collapsed. He's crap over the wicket and round the wicket. He's crap whether it's Waqar who's captain, or Rashid, or Inzi or Younis. In short, he's crap. Can we please move on?


Zeyd said...

Yeah dude, please move on, we all know he's crap. Now I'd like to take a different position on that Bangalore test and say that Inzi set up the match for us. Remember that he walked in at 7-2 and proceeded to smack 184 out of a 324 run partnership. Sure Younis went on to score big, but Inzi changed that match as much (if not more) as Younis did, and that should not be forgotten.

f-machine said...

I disagree. I'm going to be castigated (maybe even castrated) for these comments but Sami had a huge role to play in both the Bangalore win and the Multan win. I don't think he was responsible for either win but just look at his overs when Pakistan was starting to apply the pressure. Very fast very straight and very skiddy. It was like watching Waqar Younis with less reverse swing though. You expected every ball to get the batsmen bowled or lbw beaten for pace. And I'm not talking about tailenders this is when he was bowling to pietersen, flintoff, laxman etc.

In Bangalore he should have had Tendulkar out caught by Asim Kamal at short leg off a brilliant short ball. In Multan he shook up Flintoff in a great great over (get your hands on a video of that over Flintoff could have been out on any of the balls he faced in that over). And next over Flintoff shaken up holes out in the deep off Kaneria.

I'm not arguing that his recent performances (and most performances for that matter) have been shit but when he has been good he has been very very good (watch his over to Damien Martyn in the first test in Australia). And that is what keeps his supporters going. I personally think he needs to be handed the ball and told you are the spearhead go bowl as fast as you can and blast the batsmen out. At this point I think he needs a little bit of luck and not run across a Sehwag who'll murder his mandatory four-ball for the over and probably hit a couple of decent ones for four too.

Having said that though I totally understand the people who are fed up of him, it's just that I'm not just yet.

Ahsan said...

i agree that he had a significant (i cant say "huge" as you do) in the bangalore win. as i said, 55 overs in indian heat is no joke. but multan? no way. a bowler is EXPECTED to have at least one threatening spell in an entire test match faraz. yes the pietersen spell was impressive but IT WAS ONE SPELL. surely its not something we should be remembering a year from the fact? the fact that we DO remember his good spells so well obviously means there havent been enough of them. salman butt dani and shoaib won us that game. even shabbir had a better game than sami. when you're the fourth best bowler on your own team in a test, you cant say he had a "huge" or even significant role to play in the win.

Ahsan said...

also, no one is disagreeing that sami had a big role at bangalore but i think the issue here is imran khan using the words "he won us the game". surely thats a bit much?

f-machine said...

Yeah we could have done with a 'he played a significant hand in our victory'

f-machine said...

My point was that he bowled damn well in two similar pressure situations where there was nothing to lose and all to gain. So maybe he needs to be told to go out and bowl as fast as possible and as aggressively as possible to get the best out of him..

I guess I didn't state it properly but I didn't mean he had a great game..