Once boasting the likes of Akram, Waqar, Inzi & Anwar and other heroes of our cricketing past, Pakistan was one of the game’s most dangerously unpredictable team. It didn’t matter if we were facing Waugh’s Aussies or the impeccable Proteas, on our best day we could create fireworks and produce a firecracker of a game. We were passionate. We had bite in our batting and force in our bowling. Easily figuring in the top 3 – 4 ODI teams on a regular basis.
We had the magic of Akram’s left arm pace, the banana swing of Waqar’s ferocious right arm, the middle order reliability of our Inzi and the opening class of Anwar. Not to mention the ‘doosra’ or the ‘googly’ of Saqi. We had our evergreen and motivating Moin Khan. That was a team I would sit down for through thick and thin. They had their good days and their bad days. They had lazy days and miraculous ones. But they always had something about them which would ensure the morale and motivation of its fans. It after all had some of the players who were part of the world cup winning squad of ‘92 to begin with.
Our current team, which lost yesterday to England lacks talent, commitment, passion,spirit,inspiration, discipline…. I could keep going on and this list would not really end. Since the start of the warm matches for this T20 World Cup, Pakistan’s performance has been under par. In fact it has been far worse than that as well. We are quite vulnerable to defeat at the hands of the Dutch. I couldn’t see the hunger in a single player last night. Not even the captain. Who let us not forget thinks this T20 Tournament is not to be taken seriously and just for ‘fun’. While he might have said that not to put down the tournament but rather to set a mind frame, unfortunately for him, that is not the way to get about it. In the last 2 years, Pakistan’s team has increasingly become more and more predictable in the way it will have a lackluster performance and approach to the match. We have not been a team filled with the spirit or desire since the last T20 world cup. Our batting is weak. Our balling lacks any threat. Our fielding….. well lets just leave our fielding. After yesterday’s disaster of a performance in all departments… the fielding was still the one to stick out as the one FAR WORST. I counted at least 10 dropped chances.
The PCB’s administrative turbulence doesn’t help matters either. A continuation of the ad-hoc system of running things is slowly taking away from this nation a sport in which we thrived… and crazed ourselves. We have had 4 Chief Selectors since 2007. Not to mention the number of coaches that have changed. The re-association of Miandad followed by the re-disassociation and the eventual re-re-association are all examples of an unhealthy system. Cricket has officially been made a mockery of. The lack of playing time against teams of merit for a long time (The gap between the asia cup and the matches against Sri Lanka and then Australia yet another 2 months after that) certainly didn’t help our team to be a slightly better equipped. We were bound to be rusty no doubt. Also the scrapping of the ICC Champions Trophy and taking away of our World Cup Hosting rights were enough of bummer for players and fans alike. But all these reasons, while with some weight simply cannot be used as excuses for all the things that our team lacks. Playing on the World T20 stage and representing one’s country in my humble opinion should be enough to fire up your sense of spirit and engine. It should be enough to be able to give your 100%. If at the end of the day THAT is not enough for the team to win, it is something far more acceptable then a team of experienced players going out there as if they’ve just started playing the sport and are yet to develop any sort of connection with it. It is atrocious. The biggest crime in all of this was actually the lack of passion, spirit or determination. Things which can take you far beyond your skill and ability. Things which can take you far beyond the discipline as well.
I hope that we do beat the Dutch on the 9th and by enough of a margin to qualify. But honestly … if you ask me right now.. gun to my head… we do not deserve to make it anywhere near winning this competition. Not with the attitude we have shown so far. Not with the commitment we have shown so far.
Pakistan needs a complete overhaul of the PCB and the general setup in order to get back to being a potent force in the world of cricket. We need a better administrative and more stable structure to support the progress and development of a team properly put in place with sound judgment and merit. If things continue the way they have…. we will soon become the proverbial failures.