Ruthless aggression is the term to define the 2002-2008 era of the WWE. In the context of staged wrestling in was a bit ambiguous. If this term is viewed in the context of Pakistan, a whole lot of noise has been associated with it. Through state propaganda we are conditioned to believe that the world is at our throat and we need to fight back with aggression. 90s cricketers and especially the current PM has forged this idea that cricket is about aggression. No one has really outlined what it means. Some see it about playing a leg spinners. Others talk about batting with aggression. But we hate it when Shahid Afridi did it. The application of this idea is as ambiguous and destructive (in cricketing terms) as the idea of strategic depth. But how could one potentially define aggression in cricketing terms? As Misbah ul Haq once put it “Kaptan rock launcher chal dey”?
I would look at Asad Shafiq’s career as someone who has rarely been ruthless. Let us take one of his better performances as an example. Remember the 218 Younus Khan scored at the Oval to help Pakistan level the series? Of course you remember it. Do you remember the other batsman who scored a ton in the same innings? No? It was Asad Shafiq. Why don’t you remember it? Because even on a good day he wasn’t ruthless enough. Aggressiveness is not about scoring at a strike rate of 100. Rather it is about nailing the opposition down, when they are down. Do not relent.
Shafiq, is a top quality batsman, make no mistake about it. You don’t score 100s across the world and not have talent. But perhaps he lacks that little bit of belief up top. Most of his recent contribution for the side have come in almost meaningless positions. Be it with that memorable 100 at the Gabba, the century against Sri Lanka or New Zealand, all made little difference to the outcome of the match. Eventually, when you are senior pro, it is not just about making runs. We know Asad can make runs, the world knows it. But can he do it consistently when the pressure is on?
Pakistan don’t play another series for almost 9 months. With Asad not being part of the white ball setup, his failures would be forgotten. Especially if Pakistan have an average World Cup. This should ideally give Asad Shafiq ample amount of time to not only work on his technique but mindset as well. The shadows grow and only a string of match winning performances would be the answer.