The World T20 World Cup is over and done, Sri Lanka have won a tournament that the then Pakistani Captain Younis Khan once described as akin to WWE.
With Pakistan committing cricketing suicide in their final group game against the West Indies the implications for their loss were immediate with Mohammad Hafeez resigning from the T20 captaincy almost straight after the defeat. His comments regarding the captaincy and how he never really wanted to do it in the first place speak volumes about the kind of Bollywood melodramatics that seem to follow the team around.
Pakistan are no longer one of the best teams in the world, even on paper, there are no Wasims and Waqars around no Saeed Anwar, Inzi or Javed to pull Pakistan out of the pits of despair every other game. The reliance on Saeed Ajmal is just too great, you can sense he is sometimes weighed down by it, it is as if he is never ever allowed to have an off day without it costing Pakistan the game. Umar Gul is not the player he used to be, maybe he will be once again but he isn’t yet.
The young guns in the team don’t always fire, Umar Akmal should just look at Virat Kohli if he wants to see what a little application in a young player can result in. Ahmed Shehzad can be summed up by his comments after the Bangladesh game where rather than being humbled by the century he scored after a spate of failures, he was quick to condemn his critics for their questioning of his talents. Rather than being thankfully for a return to form he tried to rub the faces of his critics in the dirt, all this after scoring a hundred against the worst team in the tournament. No one loves a big head, least of all the Lord himself. The result was a first ball duck next game against probably the slowest bowler in the tournament Krishmar Santokie.
Shahid Afridi has said that it is all down to a negative mindset maybe he is right, maybe it is the fact that thePakistani players are afraid of losing not only the game but their places in the team that they perform so abysmally.
The thing with the Pakistani Cricket team is that a week or so earlier it was the same team that had fought back from a position of almost certain defeat against Australia to win the game. Commentators call it them being unpredictable, but there is something more fundamental to it than that. Pakistan’s pattern of play is offset my confidence, they always start tournaments slow until they get a win under the belt and then they seem to perform. When bowling second they look down and out until they get a wicket and then they will start playing like a different team, maybe that happens to all teams but not like it does to Pakistan. This is a team that needs positive mental reassurance to wake up and get going.
The main reason for the West Indies batting first was they knew Pakistan hate chasing, to make it worse the West Indies said as much. They knew Pakistan’s one fear was having to chase and were simply goading them before the inevitable.
The problem with Pakistani Cricket aren’t the overpaid , overweight and out of their depth old men who run the game at the PCB (although they don’t help). The problem is do Pakistan actually believe they can win? How can a team accept the fact for decades that they are simply never going to be any good at chasing down a total ? Hasn’t someone asked the question , Why not ? and How can we fix it ?
Shoaib Akthar summed up what must have been the mental state of the team when commentating on BBC Radio 5 . The only constant in his commentating was the fact Pakistan are not good at chasing and if the West Indies scored a decent total it was almost game gone. This from someone who has been in the dressing room for many years and must know what happens behinds the scenes when Pakistan chase.
Pakistan need to realise they can chase and simply go and do it.