Pakistani cricket hero cult needs a quick death – Journal
WHAT is Pakistan’s strategy in 50 plus cricket? It’s a question that demanded an answer when Pakistan went unchanged for a “dead” rubber after two dismal losses to England’s reserves. But the final ODI at Edgbaston turned out to be more a matter of proving a point and qualifying points for the 50th World Cup in 2023, than laying the groundwork for future success.
Pakistan were embarrassed in ODI’s first two games at Cardiff and Lord’s, failing to score 200 in both sets. The performances revealed an inconvenient truth about the relative merits of the two fighters: England’s bench strength in 50-overs cricket is currently as deep as Pakistan’s is shallow. As Pakistan’s batting fortunes revolve around those of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, England can call on any number of fringe players and still dominate.
Between them, Babar and Rizwan, scored 70 percent of Pakistan’s races at Edgbaston, and they did so with refined style and complete control. The pitch was good, and they shot, drove and stamped with infallible consistency to reach a third wicket of 179. It was a partnership that restored some of the team’s credibility, but the overall performance didn’t. not much done to allay doubts about the rest of the queue.
With India and only the top seven ranked nations ready to qualify for the ICC 2023 tournament, Pakistan needs every 50-over win. This inevitably limits the possibilities for experimentation, but Pakistan must find a way. The opening matches are inconsistent and the middle order did not deliver any substantial innings or late races in England.
While bowling looks solid on paper, only Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali look like firm selections. Haris Rauf still has some way to go to convince himself that he is more than a T20 bowler, and Shadab Khan has yet to start his international career as a versatile player. It’s hard to imagine that Faheem Ashraf’s average pace is made for success in India.
The elephant in the room is Babar’s burden. The captain and carrying the baton in three formats will wreak havoc. If the formula doesn’t dent his form and blunt his advantage, then Babar is indeed a rare cricketer. Despite leading the ICC ODI batting rankings, Babar has already slipped to 10th place in the Test standings. For Babar’s sake and for the sake of Pakistani cricket, the cricket council must relieve him of at least one of these responsibilities as captain.
A similar problem, to a lesser extent, also plagues Rizwan, who is asked to stay in every match and play a prominent second fiddle to Babar’s first string drummer. Here the answer is even simpler with Sarfaraz Ahmed able to provide some rotation. If Babar and Rizwan end up burning, what’s left?
So there is a lot for the Pakistan Cricket Board to do. And he hasn’t learned much new from England’s ODI series other than that Saud Shakeel can anchor an inning and offer a practical option as a sixth pitcher.
Whether Misbah-ul Haq and Waqar Younis are able to solve these puzzles is far from clear? Misbah has a mixed record in ODI at best, and the expected correlation between Waqar’s coaching stints and improved Pakistan’s bowling performance has not occurred.
In all these areas, Pakistani cricket is abandoning its age-old strategy: hero worship. Find a good man, a hero, and give him the best job. Better still give him more than one high-level position; give it two or even three. The rest will take care of itself, says Magical Thinking.
Unfortunately, experience teaches us otherwise. The skills required to become a great player are not the skills required to become a great captain. And the skills required to become a great player or captain are not the same as those required to become a great coach. The result is usually a destroyed career or a tarnished reputation.
It was only recently that Pakistani cricket placed too heavy a burden on Sarfaraz. Now he barely wins the selection. Misbah, meanwhile, has been appointed coach and coach in all formats with no experience in either role at the international level. Perhaps he will no longer have all these jobs by 2023?
For decades, the success of Pakistani cricket has depended too much on the qualities of a few good men, on the cult of the hero. The cult is faltering, and the PCB should seriously consider dividing the responsibilities of captain and coach between the three formats, as the loopholes in individual strategies are too glaring and too persistent to be excused by a never-ending process. of “reconstruction”.
Otherwise, as it stands, Pakistan is struggling to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in India, a failure that would be an unprecedented calamity.
Posted in Dawn, le 15 July 2021