ICL: Indian Cricket League

Humiliation, no surprise!

Written by Muhammad Asim on October 28th, 2006   (183 views)

Success cannot visit a team whose players do not yearn for the same. More than two decades ago, under Imran Khan, Pakistan team had built a reputation of not giving up till the very end and by the virtue of that they turned many certain defeats into a victory. In the few years since Imran putt off his boots, the side achieved a similar feat when another warrior Wasim Akram led the side but now for quiet some time they are just the opposite - fritting away the advantage and losing games which they shouldn’t in normal circumstances.

Defeats are nothing new to us. We are used to regular setbacks but the way in which they have lost the last two matches is painful. The rout is colossal and every cricket lover is seething with rage. Defeats are part of the game but why we must we grab the larger share? The manner of losses also causes immense hurt – batsman don’t ground their bat and get run-out, bowlers give too many extras, even spinners concede no-balls, throws from deep arrive in relays, and keeper just can’t hit the stumps. Neither they can bat’ through the innings nor can bowl out the opposition even after reducing them to 39 for 3 and 43 for 5. Pakistan missed chances as if it has become a fashion. The list of grouses is long, which raises some troubling questions: what is lacking? Are our players non-serious about their game, or lacking sting to really kill the opposition?

At Mohali, twice in three days, Pakistan looked like a team eager only to catch the first available flight home. In the last two matches Pakistan batting floundered cheaply. They looked like a team who has an appointment in the pavilion. Infact they have the unique ability to get out without any rhyme of reason. They seem only to have contempt for consistency. Younis Khan was quiet vocal in saying that “there is no guarantee that every player will score in every tournament”. He was correct to the last miserable detail - for the same is true for him, after all he has already scored much on the recent England tour and his token was full.

One major factor which Bob Woolmer and Co. has failed to resolve, ever since Saeed Anwar left, is the opening enigma. Pakistan has tried more pairs (21) than Shoaib his pair of socks since the last World Cup. From quite some time it has become a general feeling that Pakistan is already one down whenever they come out to bat. If it was an illusion any more, Pakistan openers have tried to reassure this notion ever since the England tour - either of the openers departs so early as if Younis Khan doesn’t like waiting with pads on. Such is the level of support for the Pakistani captain, which is seen to be believed. Yet he thought himself to be a dummy captain right before the event.

Imran Farhat has been playing at international level for quiet some time now but he has failed to come up with any of the qualities that distinguish good and reliable openers. He has no control or defence to his batting. He uses his bat like an axe. He slashes and misses, slashes and for a cheeky four the next and then slashes again, this time straight to the fielder’s hands. He cannot resist the temptation and thus succumbs to it.

Who is to blame? the infrastructure, the board or the team? The common thinking is that the players are unfocused, unskilled and lack any strategy or technique to manage their innings. They are professionals who do not perform. But to simply blame the player would be unfair because they are product of the system - the system which is mainly responsible for a debacle. Every now and then we see Pakistan side falling like nine-pins on bouncy tracks or where the ball drifts. Infact commenting on what radical changes Pakistan Cricket needs’ is out of the scope of this piece. But one thing is sure that going by these standards and structure we would end nowhere.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2006 and is filed under General.

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