Domestic cricket unable to produce valuable stuff

Pakistan cricket is based on individual performers,

By: Khurram Kaleem      Published: 10:19 PM, 7 Jan, 2022
Domestic cricket unable to produce valuable stuff

As expected Mohammad Rizwan won the PCB’s Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year award giving a tough competition to his colleagues in almost all the formats of Cricket. He scored 455 Runs in Test cricket, 134 in ODI’s, and 1326 in T20Is. Mohammad Rizwan was also unanimously selected as the T20I Cricketer of the year, for becoming the first batter to breach the 1000-run mark in a calendar year in T20Is, and the 2000-run mark in T20s.

Captain Babar Azam scored 405 runs in six ODIs with two centuries and a half-century, which earned him the ODI Cricketer of the Year award. Having scored 458 runs in white-ball internationals and picking 11 wickets, Nida Dar bagged the Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.

Hassan Ali has been awarded Test Player of the Year for his 41 wickets in eight Tests, including five five-fors and a ten-for. Through this performance, Hassan Ali was not only able to make a successful return to international cricket but also played a pivotal role in the team’s overall success in the year 2021. Hassan Ali said, "Taking ten wickets against South Africa in Rawalpindi in my second Test in nearly two years and helping Pakistan win the series 2-0 was one of my highlights of the year and a very happy moment that set the stage for the remaining part of the year."

Shaheen Shah Afridi won the award for the Impactful Performance of the Year for his 3 for 31 against India in T20I World Cup. This performance helped Pakistan defeat India for the first time at the World Cup. Mohammad Wasim Junior was named the Emerging Cricketer of the Year for his 45 wickets in Calendar Year 2021, out of which 15 were taken in his first year of international cricket.

Sahibzada Farhan won the Domestic Cricketer of the Year award following his 935 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, 487 runs in the Pakistan Cup, and 447 runs in the National T20 Cup. This is, definitely, an exceptional performance, which could earn him a place in the Pakistani side in the coming series against Australia.

These awards are good news for the winners and at the same time, it is an alarm for the PCB authorities that the pool of performers is very limited. Individual performers are still ruling the international circuit and the products of Pakistan Domestic Cricket are lacking behind as far as skills and mental toughness is concerned.

The countries which are ruling world cricket have very strong domestic setups. The competition is so tough there that when those players get a chance in International Cricket their performances further flourish. For example, Australia has a very strong domestic cricket set up and they are the most consistent team, especially in Test and ODIs, during the last four decades.

We can take Marnus Labuschagne as a test case who is currently at the top position in Test Cricket. Marnus Labuschagne has scored 7683 runs with an average of 46.84 runs per innings. When given the chance in Test Cricket his performance further improved as he was facing comparatively weaker sides than his domestic circuit. In Test Cricket he has appeared in 21 matches and scored 2114 runs with a very handsome average of 60.40 per innings.

The same is the case with Steven Smith who scores with an average of 56.59 in his domestic circuit and in Test cricket, he averages 60.84 runs. Interestingly, his domestic average is primarily growing due to his test match performances. If we look at the performance of New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson, the result would be no different. In first-class cricket, he scores with an average of 49.92 runs and in Test cricket, his average rises up to 53.47 runs per innings. England captain Joe Root has a similar record. In first-class cricket, he scores with an average of 48.97 runs and in Test cricket, he averages 49.90 runs per innings.

In Pakistan, the standard of domestic cricket is not as good as in Australia, New Zealand, England or India. In the domestic circuit, Fawad Alam and Haris Sohail are the most consistent performers. Fawad Alam scores with an average of 56.40 in domestic cricket, however in Test cricket he averages 47.65 runs per innings. Haris Sohail averages 45.96 runs in domestic cricket and he scores with a poor average of 32.57 runs per innings.

The Test averages of our top performers Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Azhar Ali are hardly above 40 per innings, which portray them as average players in the international circuit. Even the top performer of the year in the domestic circuit Sahibzada Farhan averages 37.65 in first-class cricket which is far behind the international standard. Our first-class cricket is not producing backup for the current players in almost every series we come up with new debutants. Experts say that if some team has less than 9 to 10 automatic selections for the playing eleven then it is an alarming situation for it.

Categories : Opinion
Khurram Kaleem

The writer is a senior journalist and currently working as Director News City 42