Pakistan’s story of hope, sadness and leadership challenges

Pakistan’s story of hope, sadness and leadership challenges

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New Delhi . As the dust settles on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Pakistan’s campaign is being echoed with a whirlwind of emotions – from early hopes of emulating the 1992 glory to the bitter taste of defeat and leadership.

The Men in Green embarked on a rollercoaster journey that left fans, pundits and players with a myriad of challenges on and off the field.

A groaning sound marked the end of Babar-led Pakistan’s World Cup run as they lost their last league match by 93 runs to a team that had been beaten by all but Bangladesh and the Netherlands in equally miserable matches. Concluded the season. Pakistan were seen as underdogs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, and with Babar Azam leading the way, they were expected to reach the semi-finals.

However, the Men in Green left it too late due to problems on and off the field. Relying on other teams to get results is never a good approach and the players will probably pick up on this.

With two wins at the start of the 2023 World Cup, Pakistan’s confidence is high. Beating Sri Lanka while chasing a record target was a huge achievement. However, Babar’s team lost four consecutive games for the first time in their World Cup history as they rapidly lost momentum.

For the second consecutive World Cup, Pakistan’s team finished fifth and at times it seemed that they were in trouble. Pakistan’s bowling coach Morne Morkel has resigned from his post. Shan Masood will now take over the captaincy in Test cricket and Shaheen Afridi will captain in Twenty20 international matches in place of Babar Azam.

The consequences of Pakistan’s early exit from the World Cup will never be quantified or simulated, especially when the board itself is embroiled in a farcical power struggle between two rival political factions that are more concerned with themselves than Pakistani cricket. Let’s think. This was evident from a statement issued by the PCB in the middle of the campaign, which essentially irked chief selectors Inzamam-ul-Haq and Babar.

The team was in a particularly low position at the time. They would also promise that “looking forward, the Board will take decisions in the best interests of Pakistan cricket” and recuse themselves from any operational decisions made while putting the team together.

silence of spinners

Pakistan’s spin attack was terrible, not homework, even though there was plenty of time to develop a spin attack suitable for India’s conditions after the 2019 World Cup. Shadab Khan is not an everyday casualty, Mir was inexperienced and sloppy.

Mir had an economy rate of over seven and only four wickets in four matches, all at a miserable rate of 62.00. Out of six matches, Shadab managed to take only two wickets. That was more than six in economy. All-rounder Muhammad Nawaz bowled with his left-arm spin at an average of 111.50 at an economy rate of 5.89.

Forget about wickets; The spin unit also had no runs to save. When other elite teams have at least one major contributor in the spin department, a part-time player like Iftikhar Ahmed won’t make any difference.

Struggling fast attack, looseness on the field

Pakistan’s bowling was affected due to Naseem Shah’s injury, but despite having a strong pace department, they were able to deceive. While Shaheen was the leader of the rest and took 18 wickets, overall this department was disappointing.

As soon as he set the unwanted record of giving away the most runs in a World Cup, Haris Rauf was robbed of giving away runs at will. Even with 16 wickets, his economy rate of 6.74 was a significant drawback. However Mohammad Wasim bowling with heart was a good aspect; Nevertheless, his inconsistent inclusion in the line-up proved counterproductive.

Despite all his experience, Hasan Ali conceded runs, which left him in trouble. Additionally, Pakistan lost the last two World Cups due to poor fielding in one department, which leaked a lot of runs. This time too, Babar and his men were troubled by dropping sitters, failing to cut down singles and twos and being ineffective while fielding boundaries.

Defeat against Afghanistan: the biggest shock

Acknowledging Afghanistan’s stellar performance in the World Cup, Pakistan were clear favorites to win. Fans were expecting a response from Pakistan, who came into the match after two poor performances against Australia and India respectively.

Pakistan had a strong start, but as Afghanistan’s spinners applied the brakes and became aggressive in the middle overs, Pakistan lost. Pakistan needed a batting consultant, but none of them persisted.

To continue and make a difference in such circumstances, you often need to bring in big players, and 282 was never a scary number. They were 25-30 runs short before the bowling let Pakistan down badly. The lowest point in Pakistan’s history was their defeat by the Afghans.

Babar did not lead well

Apart from his questionable batting, Babar Azam has performed poorly while leading the team. Despite not scoring a single century, Babar averaged 40.00 and scored 320 runs. He may have seen an opportunity to score big runs and was dismissed quite lightly in most of his dismissals, which came against bad balls.

He was out thrice and was caught at the same spot as he tried to dodge the man posted at midwicket. According to one, there was lack of rhythm in his batting. After scoring half-centuries, except in the New Zealand match, he was out at crucial junctures.

Fakhar Zaman made only three appearances after playing the first game against the Netherlands. His disappointing score against the Dutch forced him to sit on the bench. In Fakhar’s absence, Pakistan did not have the facility of an aggressive striker. There was no strategy here, but on the other hand, you had Quinton de Kock, Warner or Rohit Sharma.

Babar often had to arrive early because Imam-ul-Haq had to struggle. With his innings of 82 and 126* in the wins against Bangladesh and New Zealand, Fakhar showed why he can turn things around quickly.

Later he pointed out the conspiracy by Pakistan to oust him and misinterpret it. Had Fakhar been present, Abdullah Shafiq and the number three would have had more flexibility.

Even if you remove everything – inconsistent bowling, poor batting, match-by-match team changes, and some extremely risky fielding – you still have a lot to understand.

This World Cup has been a waking nightmare for Pakistan.


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