Nice analysis of Pakistan Cricket’s recent exit from World T20 by Hassan Cheema. For an Indian cricket fan growing up in 1980s and 1990s one was always awed by might of Pakistan cricket team. The way they regularly beat India was something which frustrated and angered most. But one could also not help but admire the craft especially of swing bowling.
Now most of it is just getting disintegrated. Pakistan is barely a threat to India now in either ODIs or T20s. The media can keep creating the hype over the contest but in reality there is none. The odds of a Pakistan win against India is the same as an Indian win against Pakistan in the past. This obviously means really low odds.
Cheema says we should not be surprised by the recent exit. Pakistan is completely clueless about the various forms of cricket matches being played today. They think all three – Tests, One dayers and T20 can be played with similar players/teams:
There’s a trend forming here. Pakistan appointed a T20 captain based on his ODI record from years past; their Test coach will be sacked due to his limited-overs record; they dropped Sharjeel, a T20 specialist, for his ODI record, and kept Hafeez, a long-format specialist, despite his consistent failures in T20 cricket. Pakistan continue to not understand how different formats work. They continue to think cricket is a uniform subject. Pakistan were built to fail in the World T20, and they duly did.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Pakistan were travelling to India, not Australia as their squad composition – five pacers and no front-line spinner – seemed to suggest. As Afridi’s record above shows, he is no longer that front-line spinner. Along with Afridi, Pakistan took Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz and Shoaib Malik as spinners, all three more renowned for their batting than their bowling. Perhaps Nawaz can one day become a front-line spinner, but for that he will have to play in favourable conditions. That too didn’t happen.
It’s not as if the composition failures were restricted to just the bowling. Pakistan had only two “bangers” – real batsmen with T20 strike rates in excess of 130 (Sharjeel and Afridi); third on that list is Umar Akmal. Afridi decided that he had to bat up the order, because that’s what captains are supposed to do apparently. Akmal batted up the order. The result was two failed chases because there was no firepower in the lower order. Why? Because the men playing there were originally supposed to bat in the top five. Pakistan struggled against spin throughout the tournament, and yet their best player of spin, Sarfraz Ahmed, did not play a single ball against slow bowling through the course of the tournament. Leading to the question once again – do Pakistan even understand how to use their resources?
Given that they come from a culture that doesn’t give importance to fitness and professionalism, domestic pitches and balls that actively turn batsmen away from learning how to rotate strike, and two decades of underperformance, Pakistan need to punch above their weight to even compete. They are built to fail, and they fail consistently.
But instead of trying to diagnose these problems, what we get – what we always get – is pointless military lingo: factions and traitors, troops and unity, big hearts and bravery. So perhaps it’s better to explain their situation in those terms: Pakistan build fighter jets using faulty equipment, and then decide to use these in urban warfare, while their guerrilla fighters are reserved for the trenches. And then they wonder why they have to surrender at the end of every war.
It is really sad to see this decline.
Hope it does not become like West Indies. Some would say it is already there midway..