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COMMENT: Pakistan will be looking to shake off memories of 2007 World Cup fiasco

COMMENT: Pakistan will be looking to shake off memories of 2007 World Cup fiasco

WE have still not been able to shake off the memories of Pakis­tan’s humiliating World Cup defeat in 2007 by the minnows of the time, Ireland. Every time Ireland is mentioned, that embarrassing moment comes to mind which also was followed by the tragic death of Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, not much later on that fateful day.

But somehow we forget that Ireland, with 200 years of cricket history, not only have beaten Pakistan in the World Cup but also England in 2011 and West Indies and Zimbabwe in 2015 World Cup games.

But that is not all. Let me give you a shocker here that Ireland once bowled out the West Indies team of 1969 for just 25 runs to win against them in a side match at Sion Mills.

But first things first, and let me throw some light on Friday’s historic event.

Ireland, now having gained the full membership of the ICC along with Afghanistan, is now poised for their inaugural Test here at Malahide - outside Dublin - against Pakistan, a nation with all the experience of the game at Test level since the past many decades.

The thing that will influence the outcome of the game will no doubt be the inclement weather which has been predicted. Let us hope the forecast is not that grim as is being talked about.

The setting for this first ever Test by Ireland looks elaborate, a lot more organised than when I came here with Pakistan a year ago for the ODI which Pakistan won with the help of a blistering century by Sharjeel Khan (154).

But now this is something different, neither an ODI or a T20 but the real game and mother of all cricket, a Test match. William Porterfield, a county player and the captain of Ireland, admitted on Thursday that the T20 has taken over the modern game. “But Test cricket is the ultimate thing and we are pleased to be full member of the ICC and will be playing Tests from now on as well,” said the captain.

Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, as the leader of a senior Test playing nation hoped that Ireland will fit the bill and also congratulated the Irish for joining the big members league.

He also indicated his trust in the ever-improving spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan who will obviously be the part of the final XI.

Meanwhile, reports from team management said that young batsman Imam-ul-Haq and all-rounder Fahim Ashraf could be getting Test caps on Friday.

The Irish have experience in their outfit too with Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin. The later has played one Test in the Ashes for England, the only one with Test experience.

Coming back to the shocking defeat of the 1969 West Indies team on their tour to Ireland at Holm Field at Sion Mills, their captain Sir Garfield Sobers had stayed behind in London as Basil Butcher led side arrived in Belfast for two games.

The one day match was a two innings match in which the West Indians batted first to be bowled out for 25 runs in 25.3 overs as Irish medium pacer Douglas Goodwin took 5 wickets for just 6 runs in 12.3 overs and his partner A.J. O’Riordan picked up 4 for 18.

The story goes that the tourists were in high spirits and intoxicated, but Goodwin now 80 swears that they were tired and the wicket was not good.

Even Clyde Walcott, the team manager, also played in the match and was out for 6. Others included Clive Lloyd, Maurice Foster, Joe Carew and Steve Comacho, Findley and Shillingford in the team.

Ireland in reply made 125 for 8 declared with Pigot Jr making 35. In the second innings West Indies scored 78 for 4 with Butcher making 50.

The Irish were, however, declared as the winner for being the leading scorers of the first Innings.

But Pakistan is not West Indies of 1969. As an experienced Test playing nation they will be smart enough to make their presence felt.

Irish are well aware of that and will not be able to take them for a ride unless Pakistan play like they did against them in the West Indies in 2007 World Cup.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2018

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