Well, as expected, Australia did go on to duly complete the whitewash and claimed the series 5-0.
Despite the predictable result, there were enough interesting events that transpired during the game yesterday, and strangely enough, each and every one that comes to my mind relates to the Pakistan team. The first of the lot is ofcourse Shahid Afridi's captaincy and the manner in which the rest of the Pakistani team reacts to his leadership. For the first time this series, Pakistan looked like a side that was switched on - their energy and chirpiness while fielding was not that of a side that had not won a game in 2 months, but of one that had not lost for as long as they could remember. In complete contrast to their reputations, they ran well between the wickets while they batted and their was intent in every run (a lot of the strokes still left a lot to be desired, but perhaps those too can be put down to the injection of Afridinile) and more importantly, unlike their performance this entire tour, they fielded remarkably well (and to my recollection, did not drop a catch!). Like all great leaders, Afridi leads by example and the rest of the Pakistani team seems to draw from his intensity and fire. The PCB could do worse than ask Yousuf to step down and make Afridi the captain in ODI's in addition to the T-20's.
Which brings me to the second point. If news reports are to be believed, the PCB and its minions did get Yousuf to step down from captaincy yesterday so that Afridi could be given an opportunity. If that is indeed the case (and the sore knee is nothing but a shabby excuse), then I must congratulate the PCB for their imagination. Yousuf, on the other hand, deserves a spanking on his back-side if he refused to play because he was not captain. It is high time Yousuf accepts that he is not a great leader (or even if he is, he is not the type of leader that the Pakistani cricket team needs) and instead concentrates on his role as the best batsman in the side, atleast for the few years that he has left.
The third interesting development was ofcourse Afridi's ball tampering. For someone who has been playing internationl cricket for a decade, it was the silliest stupidest thing to do on a cricket field, where get this, 26 cameras were focussed on the action. Now, if its someone like Younis khan attempting this, there is a miniscule chance that no camera would be focussed on him at that point in time - but the chances of no camera being focussed at the captain of the defending team during a tense run chase are about as good as Rohit Sharma's chances of learning to deal with the short ball. And then he goes out and says that he was in fact ball tampering - not that he was cleaning the ball, but that he was ball tampering... sigh....
Punishment has been swift and Afridi has been banned for 2 T-20's, including the one against Australia. With Pakistan's most potent T-20 weapon defused, it now seems extremely unlikely that the world cahmpions of T-20 will be able to put one across Australia before leaving those shores.