Dubai, Oct 23
Former Pakistan cricketer Bazid Khan has said that his country has enjoyed so much T20 success in the United Arab Emirates because the pitches and the weather here suit a particular style of play, and the players have got used to it over the years.
Bazid, who played only one Test and five ODIs but turned out for more than 150 First-Class games scoring 7500-plus runs, added that players need to play "old-fashioned cricket" to succeed in the T20 World Cup here.
"Modern T20 cricket has become fast-paced and aggressive, but playing in the UAE is still like going back to the old style of cricket -- giving yourself time at the top of the order; and teeing off at the back end if you have wickets in hand. The way teams used to play 50-over cricket in the past is the sort of approach you need to take for T20s in the UAE," Bazid said in his column for espncricinfo.
"If a team gets to 180 here, it's normally because someone in the top three got 80 or 90. England beat Pakistan in T20Is a few times in the UAE in 2010 and 2012, and I remember Kevin Pietersen almost batting throughout the innings in those games," he added.
"Pakistan have had so much T20I success here because the style of play really suits them. A total of 150-170 is in their safe zone. They don't want to be playing a game where the par score is 200."
Bazid said that power-hitters don't enjoy much success on UAE pitches as the wickets here are quite different from those prepared in other parts of the world.
"In the UAE, power-hitting gets nullified almost completely, because rarely are you going to get a game where five batters are going to get quick 30s and 40s to get to a team total of 180-200. Nowhere else in the world are the T20 pitches of the kind there are in the UAE. Even in Pakistan, you largely can take the bowlers on from ball one," he added.
Emphasising the role of anchors, where one player bats through the innings and the other bats around him, the former Pakistan cricketer said that a 180-plus score is quite achievable if teams have this strategy going into the match.
"The way you get 180 here if one of your batters becomes an anchor and bats through the innings while the others bat around him. If you're really brave, you can have two anchors, who can bat for long and raise the run rate towards the end. The combination of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan can work in Pakistan's favour in this case," he added.
He said the biggest drawback for power-hitters on these wickets was that the ball doesn't come on to the bat in the middle overs, making hitting the moment you arrive at the crease, tough.
"On surfaces like these, if power-hitters walk in to bat in the middle overs, they find the ball is not coming onto the bat and it's not easy to start hitting right away. Most teams have power-hitters and lower-order players who like the ball coming onto the bat. They like to play big shots against faster bowlers rather than face spinners, especially left-arm spinners bowling into the stumps," he opined.