After looking hard at the Pakistan cricket team, it can be said that this is not the happiest cluster of the planet. But we should not forget that this is a team that has ever been on the verge of eliminating the ICC Champions Trophy in England but then stunned the world by winning it in style.
One minute later the next minute was a hallmark of the Pakistani teams throughout their history.
So whatever happened to them in South Africa can be wondered, as they were wholly whitened by the hosts, hardly ever presenting a fight with them in the series of three tests? Why could not they return to preserve their famous unpredictable traits?
Analyzing in detail, the difference between 2017 and now is that while they chose to fight the last ball and had about half a dozen game winners in the tests in South Africa, the team recently seemed meaningless with none of the players raising their arms up or raise in case leading to confiscation.
The real question is now where to go from here? Whether we are again making a change in captain, though this has not solved much of our past experience. Because PCB has again made a mistake here by not hiring a deputy captain during this period. Sarfraz seems to be the best choice.
The other option may be that Sarfraz has set some short-term goals and if he is able to achieve them, he should be granted an extension.
Frankly, Sarfraz did not lead the team in the front, as before. The series of low scores, his reckless dismissals, his thought model in the tests he often seems to think of for the next 6 to 8 rather than for 6 to 8 sessions, his lack of patience with the balls; everything you need to change.
Of course, Watts has been the Achilles heel of Pakistan for centuries, and it is no surprise to see how it falls apart in South Africa. However, bowling has failed to measure. We hardly saw any bats or jokers or even slower balls to throw in the South African opposition tests, which was surprising indeed, especially when these tactics work wonders for bowling hosts.
Such flat bowling, which we witnessed by our bowlers during the test matches, was simply not acceptable.
Fields have also been desirable because there was no backward point on the border to attract South African batsmen to play a risky shorts that could have hit the throat of the third person or the field player.
As for the bits that obviously need improvement in leaps and bounds, the only thing to be supposed is that they have to play counter-attacking cricket and look for tracks instead of simply surviving without purpose, especially when their protective technique does not reach the brand at all.
Our batters also have to confine themselves to playing the cover until and unless it's an absolute half-volley.
As far as the selection for the tour is concerned, one really wonders why fruitful and technically stable players like Abid Ali, Saad Ali, Khuram Mansor and Favad Alam did not get the chance to challenge. There is also an urgent need to attach a psychologist to the team whose presence in the dressing room can enhance the credibility and confidence of the team, which is the key to success in overseas tours.
Last but not least, our internal chain needs a complete renovation. No more flat, low-jumping playgrounds that have so long devastated the techniques of our players and have repeatedly failed to face the pace and jump on tours.
It has long been a system of remuneration and punishment, but it has never been done.
If there are strict penalties for defeats and bad performances, it is very likely that players will stop taking things for granted and will not repeat the terrible shows the Pakistani cricket team is known for overseas tours.
Posted in Dawn, January 26, 2019