The passion for cricket among the fans in Pakistan is driven more by perception and whim than numbers and statistics.
Sometimes, a player Is regarded as “failure” after one bad performance, while other times, it takes fans years to realise that their “star performer” is actually an “average performer”.
After Pakistan’s wins in the first two games of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, fans have been apologising to players who performed way better than what they expected from them.
Mock apology forms have been making rounds on Twitter which fans are signing to tender their apologies to all those players who they have criticised in the past.
TWO APOLOGY FORMS TONIGHT.
Asif Ali. Shoaib Malik. WINNERS.
Send us your submissions!
— Change of Pace (@ChangeofPace414) October 26, 2021
A barrage of apologies
It started after the game against India where Haris Rauf’s nifty death bowling didn’t allow Indian batsmen to score freely.
Public apology to Haris Rauf, what a spell.
— Ahmad (@ah_lilmad) October 24, 2021
— HamzaHifizSatti (@iamhamzahifiz) October 26, 2021
This is a public apology to Haris Rauf I’m sorry sir
— shmyla (@apniISPdot) October 24, 2021
He only gave 25 runs in his four overs and surprised commentators as well as fans when he bowled three back-to-back slower balls in the 17th over.
Just a ball ago, the commentator said that Rauf is not known for bowling slower balls.
Rauf gave four and seven runs in his penultimate and final overs respectively. Although Shaheen’s fiery bowling spell made the headlines, Rauf’s death bowling masterclass also didn’t go unnoticed.
In the first two games of the tournament, Rauf has taken five wickets in eight overs with an economy rate of 5.87 runs per over.
This changed the fans’ opinion of Rauf, who had been under the pump after being hit for five consecutive fours by Kieron Pollard in Pakistan’s warm-up game against the West Indies before the World Cup.
20th over | Haris Rauf to Pollard – 4 4 4 4 4 W
West Indies post 130 on the board after opting to bat in their warm-up fixture against Pakistan. #PAKvWI https://t.co/gUUHqXl1W4
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) October 18, 2021
— Saad 🇵🇰 (@TheSaadWrites) October 18, 2021
— Malik Furqan (@faarisayx) October 18, 2021
Rauf always had numbers which showed that he is phenomenal at death bowling with his high pace and varying lengths.
He has an economy rate of 7.47 runs per over while bowling in the death overs (16-20) in T20 internationals. He is ninth on the list of best economy rates for fast bowlers in death overs T20 international (min 150 balls).
The case of Asif Ali is not much different. His overall T20 strike rate is 148.14 in T20s, making him one of the most ferocious white ball hitters in the country.
But, even with this staggering strike rate, Asif Ali has been subjected to intense criticism. There were calls to replace him in the World Cup squad.
@babarazam258 captain, please don’t ignore Haider against India, he wil be our main weapon against India, and can be match winner,replace him with Asif Ali
— Syed Ehtisham (@SEhtisham) October 18, 2021
— Mohammad Maaz (@AGBloch90) October 8, 2021
But Asif’s numbers show that he had been phenomenal in his role as a late-order hard-hitting batsman.
In all T20s, he has a strike rate of 197.11 in death overs (min 300 balls) which is 10th best among all the players. This list features the most prolific T20 batsman from around the globe including AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, Glenn Maxwell, and Kieron Pollard.
Going by these numbers, it shouldn’t have surprised many that Rauf nailed the death bowling against India and Ali managed to take Pakistan out of a tricky situation against New Zealand with his six hitting abilities.