| Inzamam: Torrid time
Johannesburg: It may be time for Inzamam-ul-Haq to go out and eat his way through a restaurant menu.
The Pakistan batsman, fourth on the list of one-day International run-scorers, came to the World Cup in the best physical shape of his life, having shed 12 kg from his imposing frame.
But he has struggled to hit the ball off the square in South Africa and during his two-ball duck against Holland in Group A on Tuesday, he failed to move his feet to a full-length delivery that left him with 10 runs in four innings.
In his previous effort against England, he was caught first ball after being squared up by an away-swinging delivery.
Perhaps Inzamam’s recent dieting and gym work, in an attempt to cut down on injuries, has been too draconian.
European golfers Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke have both blamed dips in form in recent seasons on sudden weight loss, which they say affected their balance and hence their swings.
Flaws in fundamental technique, however, coupled to lack of confidence, are almost certainly the root cause.
Few of Asia’s most renowned batsmen, in fact, have fared well at this World Cup, struggling to acclimatise to South African pitches offering bounce and sideways movement.
“As far as application levels go with regard to sub-continent teams, there’s a lot to do,” former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar told South African satellite broadcaster Supersport on Tuesday.
On Monday, Sri Lanka went down to Kenya by 53 runs in one of the biggest shocks. The Kenyans had termed the pitch “a batsman’s paradise” but Aravinda de Silva was the only Sri Lankan to get past 25.
Skipper Sanath Jayasuriya said: “We looked like amateurs... This is my and the team’s worst day in cricket.”
Bangladesh, meanwhile, have batted so poorly that they even lost to Canada in their opening game.
Captain Khaled Mashud said on Wednesday: “I’m low on morale at the moment and most of the guys are low.”
India, meanwhile, appear to be improving but their one big batting test to date saw them skittled for 125 by Australia at Centurion.
Only Sachin Tendulkar has looked completely at ease.
Skipper Sourav Ganguly papered over the cracks with a hundred against Namibia but, only a day earlier, he had wet tennis balls hurled at him in a car park in a bid to adjust to bouncing deliveries.
Former South Africa coach Bob Woolmer said: “Asian batsman tend to play square of the wicket. In South Africa, you have to play a lot straighter.
“You can tell the players that, but you can’t make them do it. And even if they do, under pressure you go back to you comfort zone and play by your instincts.
“That may be part of the problem.”
Woolmer added: “Many of them, the Indians included, don’t play swing or the seaming ball very well. They play on the up and away from the body and don’t move their feet as much as they could.”