In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan didn’t go for anything out of the box as New Zealand did in 1992, Sri Lanka in 1996 and Australia in 1999; instead, they chose to remain Pakistan of 2003, 2007 and 2015
Pakistan cricket team may have some of the best players in the world but ever since winning the ICC Champions Trophy, it hasn’t acted as the best team in the world. With the World Cup approaching, they didn’t go for something out of the box like New Zealand of 1992, Sri Lanka of 1996 and Australia of 1999; instead, they chose to remain Pakistan of 2003, 2007 and 2015.
Instead of selecting a squad that would give 100 percent in the mega event, they chose the final squad which in the selectors’ mind was already a match winner. They made one wrong decision after another, and that’s why the outcome so far has been like the Pakistan of 1992. Sadly, that team had experience, and the current squad has “legends in their own mind”. Read on:
Wrong No. 1: Trusting Inzamam-ul-Haq with World Cup Duty
Inzamam never had a great World Cup. He played a few good innings, but those were few and far between.
So he should have been kept as far away as possible from the Pakistan team. Instead, he was entrusted to select the final squad of Pakistan, which seems to be at par with the World’s worst.
He represented Pakistan in five World Cups, and scored just 717 runs at a woeful average of 24, at a pathetic strike rate of 75.
In 35 matches, the only two times he did something remarkable was in 1992 World Cup where as a youngster he was outstanding. He was the culprit when Pakistan lost the quarter-final in 1996; he was awful in World Cup 1999; in 2003 he did nothing; and his performance, as well as the team’s, was so bad in 2007 that not only we lost a disheartened Bob Woolmer but most Pakistanis didn’t care whether he retired or not. And that very person is our chairman of selectors who chose his nephew Imam ul Haq as Pakistan’s leading opener when the more experienced Abid Ali was there to compete for the top slot. He dropped two experienced pacers and selected the ones he thought would do well, only to recall Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, who seem to be doing well in the event. Proves how competent the former captain is!
Wrong No. 2:
Going With the Most Disgraced Coach
No team in the world was interested in hiring Mickey Arthur. He was sacked by Australia and South Africa. He had issues with players wherever he went. Under his coaching, the team might have won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, but two years after the victory, most players don’t know how to catch the ball, hit the wicket directly and bat in crucial circumstances. The team has become a joke as they bat in bowling conditions, bowl in batting conditions and perform in neither, losing to teams like the West Indies who have improved since playing the qualifying rounds for an event they have won twice!
Wrong No. 3:
Trusting PSL Over the Domestic Cricket
There was no Pakistan Super League when Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992. The players were picked for their performances in domestic cricket.
This time around, we chose players on the basis of their performances in the past and the most recent Pakistan Super League which is a T20 event. We selected Asif Ali for his hard hitting but when he couldn’t replicate it in the first few matches, shouldn’t he have been dropped and a more experienced batsman be included in his position? Sadly, we have near-retirement players in Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez who command a position in the side just because they have been around for so many years. Youngsters should have been prepared and groomed in their places.
Wrong No. 4:
Hoping for a Miracle, Like Always
What else do you expect from a team the stand-in captain of which says two months before the World Cup that they weren’t playing to win a series, against Australia in this case! Why was a series organised in conditions that were the exact opposite of England? Why were all the senior players rested? Why was Malik with no future in the national squad after the World Cup selected to lead? These are some of the questions that must be answered. And if the aim was to select the best team from that series, then Mohammad Rizwan should have been in the playing XI as a batsman over Asif Ali who should have been dropped after repeated failures. After four matches, Pakistan are above only South Africa and Afghanistan, and if that doesn’t wake the PCB up, I don’t know what will!