Pakistan thrashed England in the first one-day international and then has allowed itself to be thrashed in the next two. On the 17th of November 2015, Azhar Ali and his team were well on their way to a big score when the captain’s run out changed the mood and the pattern of the whole game. Total lack of application, concentration and responsibility then became the characteristic of every player. Apart from the horrible runouts of Rizwan and Shoab, the manner in which our middle order handled the rising ball (from just short of good length) was a classical display of irresponsible shot-selection. It seemed everyone had chosen to simulate Shahid Afridi’s favourite way of getting out. You can neither hook nor pull from that length. But the English bowlers have discovered that our batsmen are fond of ‘pulling’. And they took full advantage of this weakness of our batsmen. It goes to their credit that they bowled to the right length and line.
Our batting coach has to do some work with our batsmen in this connection— whoever he is. I am sure it can’t be Waqar Younus, who I am afraid cannot escape taking the blame of not fielding the best eleven available. My reference is clearly to Ahmad Shahzad and Omar Akmal. If these players have ‘behavioural’ problems, these should be addressed in a different way. Pakistan should not be punished. With two of our greatest batsmen i.e Younus Khan and Misbah no longer playing one-day cricket, we can’t afford to be overly harsh to the next best.
It is my faith that if a batsman can play one great innings in challenging circumstances against challenging attack, he can repeat that performance again and again. He cannot ‘unlearn’ his talent the way our selectors give the impression. I remember great knocks from both Ahmad Shahzad and Omar Akmal. Are they out of form or out of favour?
And by the way what happened to Mukhtar?
Let us have a consistent talent pool— irrespective of likes and dislikes.
There is one great news amidst this great chaos. Misbah and Younus have been put on the Board of Governors. This is a commendable step. Pakistan needs more of such decisions to bring about betterment in the way cricket is managed here. These two gentlemen are not only quality cricketers but also quality human beings.