Pakistan cricket has been going through a rough patch over the recent past. The team which has become a source of derision following its embarrassing performances. In what comes as a further embarrassment for the team, it has lost miserably to the Aussies during their tour down under.
The Pakistan team has been absolutely humiliated, losing the series 0-2, as they were whitewashed by the Kangaroos. The Azhar Ali-led team lost the first test at Brisbane by an innings and 5 runs, and lost the second test at Adelaide also by an embarrassing innings margin.
The series was actually a matter of all-round failure for Pakistan. The batting performance was awfully average with the exception of centuries from Babar Azam and Yasir Shah in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively, apart from whom no one in the Pakistani battling line-up could really provide any resistance to the Australian bowling attack.
Pakistan’s bowling attack was even more disappointing. A team which was once known for having produced devastating fast bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar seemed to lack any penetration, and was completely ineffective against the Australian batting line-up. The Pakistani bowlers clocked an average of 89.92 in the four innings, making it the worst-ever Pakistani bowling performance for the Pakistan cricket team Down Under. The pace attack, in particular, was a major disappointment as it could manage only seven out of 13 Australian wickets that fell across two Australian innings in the bouncy and pace-friendly Australian conditions.
And the less we talk about Pakistan’s fielding efforts the better. Their awful fielding efforts are well summarised in this witty tweet by Cricket Australia, about David Warner scoring his fifty courtesy some ‘timely overthrows’.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 29, 2019
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has also come down heavily on Pakistan for its mediocre performance. He called the Pakistani bowling attack “the worst ever”, he has seen visit Australia in a long time. He also questioned the selection process of Pakistan, and said, “I still can’t understand why the 16-year-old hasn’t played this game, Naseem.” It is important to mention here that Pakistan had fielded three inexperienced teenagers down under, two of whom were uncapped in tests. He also showed disappointment with Mohammed Musa who replaced Naseem Shah. Ponting also said, “They haven’t got much cattle. And when you haven’t got much cattle against a batting line-up as hungry as ours, and in our conditions, and a team that is really trying to prove themselves back on the world stage, then I think Pakistan have just been caught in a perfect storm”.
Pakistan cricket’s woes are not limited to miserable performances, but also extends to off-field controversies as both the team and the Pakistan Cricket Board have been rocked by internal dissensions.
Even after an embarrassing defeat in the World Cup, there were reports of how factions led by Mohammed Amir and Imad were letting down Sarfaraz Ahmed, the then captain of Pakistan. The then captain is also said to have lost his cool in the dressing room and accused some players including Imad Wasim and Imam-ul-Haq.
Ex-Pakistani speedster, Shoaib Akhtar has revealed the true reasons as to why cricket is going downhill in Pakistan. He feels that the Pakistan Cricket Board doesn’t need star players, rather it is concerned about selecting sycophants who can toe the Board’s line. He also came down heavily on Pakistan Cricket Board CEO, Wasim Khan, who Akhtar feels, has not been able to adapt to Pakistani conditions. Lambasting the cricket administration in the country, he said that average men won’t really bring in talented men, as an average person couldn’t be expected to appreciate those who are better than him. He emphasised on the need of honest selection, and bringing in people from grassroots level rather than parachuting people from outside.
Pakistan is currently at the 8th spot, and Akhtar said that if Sri Lanka ends up defeating Pakistan all over again, then it will land Pakistan cricket in deep toruble. He also came down heavily on Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy and accused it of failing talented cricketers. He also levelled charges of nepotism in its functioning. He also said that experienced bowlers are needed and that the present bowling attack cannot really take on world-class batting line-ups. Akhtar has spoken about the return of Fawad Alam. Showering praise on Alam, he said, “They say that you should work so hard in silence that your success blows your trumpet. He (Fawad) has worked so hard his success is now screaming that ‘okay you do not play me for seven years? It’s fine. Now I will work so hard that I would make it impossible for you to ignore me’.”
The case of Fawad Alam captures what is actually wrong with Pakistan. The cricket administrators within the troubled country are allegedly not allowing talented and experienced cricketers to take the team forward, rather they are relying on inexperienced players who cannot be expected to take on world-class teams. In such circumstances, it seems that Pakistan cricket is staring at an unprecedented and irreversible downfall. What makes his worse is the fact that it is happening at a time when Imran Khan is the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Imran Khan was considered among the greatest of all-rounders during his heydays, and had even led the Pakistan cricket team to its sole World Cup triumph. It is rather ironical that Pakistan cricket is going to the dogs at a time Imran Khan ‘Niazi’ has been selected by the Pakistani military as the country’ Prime Ministers