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PAKISTAN AND CRICKET

Introspection and Adaptation of Efficacious Measures Would Definitely Revamp Nation’s Performance

Old Trafford, also known as Emirates Old Trafford, is the cricket ground in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England.  It opened in 1857 as the home of Manchester Cricket Club and has been the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club since 1864.  Here the historic match between Pakistan and India was played on 16th Jun 2019.

Pakistan won the toss and decided to field first.  India made 336 runs for five wickets in 50 overs.  Pakistan was given the target of making 302 runs in 40 overs following Duckworth Lewis method as the game had to be truncated due to rains.  Not exactly a great performance by Team of Pakistan prompted the author to put on the thinking cap and analyse the event after developing an insight.  Facts and details garnered are enumerated in succeeding paragraphs.

Historical Details of Pak Cricket Team

The Pakistan men’s national cricket team ( پاکستان قومی کرکٹ ٹیم‎), popularly referred to as the Shaheens (شاہین‎), Green Shirts(سبز قمیضیں) and Men in Green(سبز رنگ میں آدمی), is administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).  The Pakistan Cricket Board controls both all domestic cricket tournaments.  Pakistan is an official member of the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council.  The team participates in Test, ODI, and Twenty 20 International cricket matches.

The history of Cricket in Pakistan predates the creation of the country in 1947.  The first ever international cricket match in what is Pakistan today was held in Karachi on 22nd November 1935 between Sindhi and Australian cricket teams. The match was seen by 5,000 Karachiites.  It was introduced by the British during their colonial rule of British India, which covered the area now known as Pakistan.  Cricket is the most popular sport in the country.

Scoresheet

The Pakistan Cricket Team Pakistan cricket team made its Test cricket debut in 1952 and has since become one of the most successful teams in modern cricket.  The team reached the semi-finals of 1979, 1983,  1987 and 2011 World Cups, and finals in 1992 and 1999, and won the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup by defeating England in the final with the captaincy of Imran Khan.

They are one of the most successful T20 sides but faced defeats in T20 2016 having won the T20 World Cup in 2009 and been runner-up in 2007.  Subsequently, they defeated India by a big margin of 180 in the Final of Champions Trophy 2017 at Oval.  Pakistan has also been ranked as the Number 1 Test Team twice (summers of 1988 & 2016) and Number 1 across all formats (Test, ODI, and T20) at various points.

Unfortunate Defeat

Pakistani team could make only 212 runs losing six wickets.  To use an oft-repeated phrase, a cliche “It was a slaughter”.  Humiliating defeat invited angry reactions from fans.

Twitterazzi also had its share of sensationalism.  The most intriguing and amusing tweet has been from Sameera Khan.

In the face of this debacle, it is an appropriate time to carry out a holistic analysis of what went wrong and how to salvage the situation (short term measure) and take concrete measures to enable a resurgence of the Pakistani team and regain its pristine glory.

Credibility of Previous Victories

This brings us to question the win against England.  Was it just a fluke?  Out of complete sympathy and soft corner for the “Once Upon a Time- INVINCIBLE”  team, my answer would be a big No.

What Went Wrong?

Sarfraz Ahmed, who was a number six or seven batsmen, was batting at number five, which clearly showed that there was a problem.  There is no denying the fact that Pakistan had unfortunately been unable to produce quality batsmen during the past five years.

Despite Pakistani PM, an accomplished cricketer himself advising against it under what circumstances Pakistan decided to bowl first after winning the toss?  What were the compulsions?  Who decided to go with two spinners against India?  It is a well-known fact that Indian team is quite comfortable with spin.  In fact it was akin to committing a virtual Harakiri focussing on the spin when playing against Indian team.

Further Dissection

Moreover, Hassan Ali was not bowling at the right length.  Arguably he has been the most expensive bowler for Pakistan in all World Cups now.  Similarly, Wahab Riaz was also unable to bowl even a single Yorker.  Only saving grace was Mohammad Amir.  He was the only bowler who exhibited ‘Never say die attitude’.

Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik are not exactly in form and are on the wrong side of 35.  Expecting to win the World Cup with the oldies seems farfetched.  Moreover dexterity level of Pakistani cricketers had deteriorated over the last two years.  Inconsistency and unpredictability have become the hallmark of Pakistan team.

Viewpoint

Pakistan is in urgent need of enthusing young blood into the team.  Albeit, this measure should have been taken much earlier, but it is never too late.  As the saying goes “ When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going” (جب مشکل ہو جاتی ہے تو سخت ہو جاتی ہے).  It is time to introspect.  In the remaining matches, Pakistan should perform extremely well although one school of thought suggests Pakistan’s World Cup campaign has almost ended because their net run rate is below all other teams’ except Afghanistan.

Sure, It is extremely difficult for Pakistan to be among the top four teams even if they win all their remaining fixtures of the tournament, but where there is a will, there is a way (جہاں کوشش وہاں امید).  Every member of Pakistan Cricket Team should muster its resources, concentrate on their game and play their best cricket.  They owe it their fans and motherland.

19 Jun 19/Wednesday                                                           Written by Naphisa

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