Pakistan Cricket team remains stuck in the 90s during World Cup!

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There are two kinds of teams in this world, those who play to win and those who don’t play at all. Pakistan’s Cricket team belongs to the latter and they proved it as well with their pathetic performance in the World Cup opener against the West Indies. It was as if one team went in the ground to win, the other went in the ground to pass the time. It reminded one of the 2003 World Cup where the team didn’t perform just because they wanted to get rid of the Captain Waqar Younis, and same seems to be the case now.

Akram’s Pakistan was bested by Steve Waugh’s Australia in the final of the 1999 World Cup
A crushing defeat to Ireland sealed Pakistan’s fate in the 2007 World Cup
Pakistan did well to reach the semis but were defeated by India in 2011

Let’s take a look at the batting performances if there was any. As I have been saying for a long time, Imam ul Haq is a liability and even if his ODI average remains over 50, he still needs to understand that cricket has changed and until and unless an opener gives an explosive start, the team will suffer. He is only good when the wicket is, he is equally bad when it isn’t and the West Indian encounter was a proof of that. Yes, his partner Fakhar Zaman didn’t do much as well but at least the intent was there, and he was hitting boundaries. Unlike the nephew of Inzamam ul Haq who is very good at speaking his mind, shutting up his critics after crossing a milestone but not at the actual thing, for which he is paid. Babar Azam batted slow but it had more to do with the two wickets that fell in quick succession and he remains the only proper batsman in the side.

Then there is Haris Sohail who like Fawad Alam is not regular at any batting position because the coach has to pamper Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, the world’s most useless cricketers. The way Hafeez scored two boundaries on successive deliveries showed that he can bat but then he went slow just to prove his point that he doesn’t want to bat lower down the order. Such selfish cricketers should be kicked out of the side during the tournament for they damage the morale of other players who in reality are more talented and deserving. Thank God Shoaib Malik wasn’t in the final XI but we needed Asif Ali who could have done wonders with the bat. If a late order hitter like Wahab Riaz can hit a couple of sixes in the match, I don’t see any reason why the others couldn’t. As for Imad Wasim, the way he got dismissed was comical but his reaction showed that he was expecting a friendly delivery from the opposing side. This is what happens when you become a legend in your own mind, put forward as a future captain and are backed by a coach who simply has no idea what’s wrong with the side.

As for the bowling, it was the same old stuff – when we were batting it was a bowling paradise and when we were bowling it was a batting paradise. Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran batted like champions while Pakistani bowlers delivered the ball on a silver platter – except for Mohammad Amir. Come to think of it, the only bowler the selectors didn’t select in the original squad took all 3 wickets to fall while the others failed big time. Wahab Riaz did what he does the best and that is, give away runs as if the target is over 1000 runs in 50 overs; Hasan Ali is shaping to be the bowling version of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal and if he doesn’t improve his bowling, he might end up in the same place as Rao Iftikhar who no one remembers now. It was as if Amir was a bowler from another planet and the rest were locals as Wahab Riaz went for nearly 11 runs per over and Hasan Ali nearly 9, whereas Amir’s economy rate was less than 5!

Then comes the fielding which was below par at best. One must thank Mohammad Hafeez for holding onto a catch off Mohammad Amir’s bowling because usually in ODIs he drops a ball if it is delivered by the ‘tainted’ pacer. However, he did make a mess of another attempt where a catch could have lifted the morale of others, but then that’s Mohammad Hafeez who plays for himself all the time. There was another dropped opportunity where Imam ul Haq tried to catch a ball but couldn’t because a) no one will drop him if he drops a catch and b) not many will appreciate if he does. With such fielders in the side, no wonder Pakistan is on the 6th position in the ICC Cricket Ranking; who knows where they might end if they continue to play like this during the mega event.