A decent bloke, but a dreadful captain
Credit is due to Mohammad Yousuf for taking the blame when interviewed by Tubby Taylor in the aftermath of a shocking performance from Pakistan, which led to Australia’s rise from the dead win in Sydney overnight.
Yousuf was partly right to pinpoint his dismal dismissal immediately after tea to a caught and bowled from Nathan Hauritz when his side were well positioned at 77/3 needing only 99 more runs to win. Admittedly it was a great catch by Hauritz, who was in real danger of decapitation, as Yousuf hit the ball like a tracer bullet but for the batsman it was an unnecessary risk. Yousuf should have dropped anchor and made it his priority to shepherd his side over the line.
However, it was Yousuf’s poor ultra-defensive captaincy in the morning that meant Pakistan had to chase a challenging target of 176 instead of one below 100. Instead of applying pressure to Hussey and Siddle, he set fields that allowed Hussey to play himself in and take a single off the fourth ball of each over. It smacked of extreme negativity and in fact it was so timid, I was surprised that when the camera panned to Yousuf that he wasn’t hiding behind the sightscreen.
These tactics played into the hands of Hussey and Siddle as they compiled a matchwinning partnership of 123. Although it sticks in the throat for a Pom who was so looking forward to the Australians losing, credit must go to Ponting and his men for their never say die attitude. But that said the Pakistan batting was kamikaze-like given that they had over a day in which to reach their target – they even enabled a dreadful bowler like Hauritz to take his second consecutive five for. Only Umar Akmal emerged with credit for his well made 49.
So, the series goes to the Australians and Yousuf now faces a big task to pick his side up off the floor for the third test in Hobart. One should expect a heavy defeat for Pakistan in that one. Things would have been very different if Younis Khan was still captain as his natural attacking style would have meant the tactics employed by Yousuf in the morning would have been anathema to him.
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