Tough road ahead for Pakistan

10 Jan 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in Australia Pakistan Test Series 2009-2010

pakistan-cricket-teamQuite a few days have passed since the Sydney debacle. However, the backlash from Pakistan continues unabated. And expectedly so, as the Pakistan cricket team made a mockery of the Test at Sydney. This was not the first time they had committed hara-kiri of such magnitude, and definitely won’t be the last.

But, it was among the worst chasing efforts ever in the history of Test cricket, that too against the weakest Aussie side of the last two decades. What should have been golden chance for Pakistan turned out to be yet another missed opportunity. The loss has not only hurt Pakistani fans, but cricket lovers the world over, since all expected a tough contest between the two teams.

While the Sydney hurt will stay with the Pakistanis for some time to come, they have to try and look forward to putting up an improved showing at Hobart. The series may be lost, but they have a lot to play for. Avoiding a clean sweep – they have been blanked on the last three occasions – will be an achievement in itself.

Keeping that in view, expect a few changes. For one, Sarfraz Ahmed, who has been sent a SOS, will definitely replace Kamran Akmal, who might not be seen in whites for a long time following his schoolboyish effort at Sydney. Non-performers like Faisal Iqbal and Misbah-ul-Haq too need to go.

Even as the changes are mandatory, the team and the management need to do more than just shuffle around their players. Sadly for Pakistan, they do not get to play Test cricket at home these days due to the constant terror threat in their country. But, that is something beyond their control and they need to try and focus on the job at hand, which they clearly haven’t been doing on current evidence.

First and foremost, their new skipper Mohammad Yousuf needs to get his act right. He has been doing reasonably well with the bat, but his captaincy has been far from inspirational. The manner in which he allowed Australia to get away on the final day at Sydney was baffling. Agreed, he is still learning the tricks of leading the side.

However, he has enough experience to at least decipher how to react to a situation. Instead, Yousuf was prepared to sit back and watch. Pakistan would do well to resolve their inner conflicts and get back their first choice skipper Younis Khan as soon as possible.

That said, one can’t entirely blame the loss on Yousuf’s negative captaincy. As he rightly pointed out, both prior to and after the disaster at Sydney, the younger generation seems keen only on T20. And as if to add credence to their skipper’s comments, the team went out and batted like they were playing a 20-over game.

They way they crumbed made one wonder whether these players can survive even 20 overs in the shorter format. Clearly, this is a dangerous sign for Pakistan cricket and unless they are willing to learn from their mistakes, there is a bumpy ride ahead for Pakistan cricket.

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