Friday, June 16, 2017

Can Pakistan overcome their crippling inconsistency?

Being a fan of the England football team must be one of the most frustrating pastimes in sport, with hope the main thing supporters cling to, but spare a thought for the millions of Pakistanis who follow their cricketers around the world and on TV and have to suffer the roller-coaster of emotions.

From the recent low of humiliation against fierce rivals India to the high of knocking favorites and tournament hosts England out of the Champions Trophy in the semi-finals, there is never a dull moment when those wearing the gold star on their cap are in town.

The Pakistan cricket team has always been mercurial, with an ability to implode when put under pressure while they have also produced some amazing cricketers who have shone on the world stage over the years.

Imran Khan led them to World Cup glory back in 1992, inspiring his men with the famous “play like cornered tigers” speech which saw them fight back from the brink of elimination to beat England in the final.

They have only once returned to the 50-over final but did win the World Twenty20 in 2009 and will now have a chance to add the Champions Trophy to their roll of honour.

There is a much-used phrase by sports commentators regarding certain sides that you ‘never know which team will turn up’.

That certainly applies to Pakistan who can beat anyone on their day but can also be so poor as to attract criticism from former stars that the players are not fit to wear the shirt.

Cricket, like all sports, is cyclical and, as has been shown by the demise of the West Indies, no team dominates for ever.

Australia threatened to disprove that theory but even the men from Down Under have proved to be human in recent years.

The one constant in the game over that period is that Pakistan can never be written off as they always seem to discover new talent both with bat and ball.

With greats such as Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq now retired, batsmen Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, and Fakhar Zaman have stepped up to the plate while the bowling department looks strong.

Mohammad Amir is now back to fulfil his undoubted potential while Junaid Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan have made a real difference to the team.

However, despite the victory over Eoin Morgan’s men, it is inevitable that it will not be too long before another setback threatens to derail their progress.

It is not always on-field matters that seem to be the problem as there have been many issues surrounding selection, while the Pakistan Cricket Board are never too far from criticism.

Imran suggested that the structure of cricket in Pakistan lends itself to mediocrity on the world stage after they lost for the 13th time in 15 matches against India at ICC tournaments.

Beating England and a few other top teams now and again is all well and good, but it is results against their neighbours that matter most.

Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail has slammed the selectors for picking players in the wrong format and not allowing them to show their true talent, while there is a general sense of unrest that cricketers in the country are being held back by the powers that be.

It will take time to implement a new domestic structure into Pakistan cricket but it seems as though that is the only way to get the consistency required to become a top-three side in the world game.

Pakistan might win the Champions Trophy this weekend but it will only just paper over the cracks and maybe buy the authorities a bit more time.

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2 Pitched:

  1. Unknown said...
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  2. Anonymous said...

    The toss decides the match, if India win the toss, they chase whatever score Pakistan puts up but if Pakistan bowl first, then its gonna be an even contest!

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