Pakistan’s Poor Show in ICC World Cup, Problems and Challenges

Tue Nov 14 2023
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Team ended their dismal journey in the ICC World Cup after receiving a defeat from the out-of-form England in the last match. Despite occupying no place in the semi-final, spectators from Pakistan were expecting a win against England to get some soothing effect on their minds, but the team’s poor show continued till the end of the group matches.

Finishing as number 5 and losing the last game, the Pakistan cricket team and captain Babar Azam were on the radar of the ex-cricketers, including Shoaib Akhtar, Ramiz Raja, Rashid Latif, Muhammad Amir, Abdur Razaq and many more.

Repeating Mistakes by Pakistan

Most of the ex-crickets criticized Babar Azam and other national players for repeating mistakes in the recent Asia Cup and then in the World Cup. 

These mistakes included the repeated dismissal of the skipper himself by playing a particular shot towards short midwicket on a pull attempt. Babar Azam was dismissed three times on the same balls while pulling it towards midwickets against Australia, the Netherlands, and then against England in the last game.

In the recent Asia Cup, even Indian spinner Kuldeep applied the same trick to get rid of Babar Azam. It was the reason the inexperienced English bowler Atkinson applied the same delivery and dismissed Babar in the last game. In other words, Babar began the event with the same short and dismissal he experienced in the last match.

Other major criticisms against Babar included his defensive captaincy, irregular bowling changes, poor selection, providing chances to out-of-form Shadab despite his failure, not exploiting to adjust the leg spinner Muhammad Ibrar when Shadab became injured, etc.

Another example was that of Imamul Haq; he was dismissed on the same bouncer delivery a number of times. The captain and selectors didn’t switch for quick changes according to the condition. For instance, being an impact player, Australia didn’t drop Maxwell at the start despite his poor performance. However, Pakistan dropped Fakhar Zaman for three matches, particularly the 3rd one against South Africa, where Fakhar Zaman has a decent track record against Proteas.

Another important aspect of the team’s failure was the lack of planning. Despite being expelled from the 2019 World Cup tournament due to Net Run-Rate(NNR), the team didn’t manage the required net run-rate in the tournament as even if they would have managed to beat England in the last match, they would have been expelled from the tournament due to low NNR. 

In the match against New Zealand, Fakhar Zaman sacrificed his century and was dismissed just to enhance the NNR. However, after his dismissal, the skipper Babar Azam neither promoted Iftikhar/Rizwan to the number three position nor managed it by himself. After Fakhar, he came out to the ground and scored 9 runs while playing 16 balls and then got out. 

On the other hand, New Zealand managed to beat Sri Lanka before the 25th over to improve their NNR further.

PCB Politics

The other dilemma of the poor show by Pakistan lied in the historic PCB politics. The recently appointed Chairman of the management committee, Zaka Ashraf, is the leading factor in PCB politics. His appointment was a political one and was held just a couple of months before the World Cup. He also mishandled the issue of Inzam-ul-Haq, who resigned during the World Cup. 

Another problem occurred when he invited former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad for a meeting again at a time when Pakistan was losing matches in the mega event. 

Criticizing the above mistakes and scores of others, former Cricketer Rashid Latif was of the view that the Chairman should not treated the challenges in a way he did, including talking about a WhatsApp message of Babar Azam. Former Crickets Abdur Razaq also criticized the Chairman, Chief Selector, and the skipper Babar Azam and held all responsible for the poor show.

Other crickets, including Basit Ali, condemned PCB approaches for always going behind foreign coaches when the country has no dearth of legends and sports experts, adding that PCB, like a white elephant, is wasting taxpayer money of a poor nation.

In a nutshell, the nation was aggrieved over the poor performance of the national team as Pakistan Cricket was even ranked number one just a few weeks before the World Cup, but their performance in the mega event was just a mediocre one. 

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