Another highly disappointing year for Pakistan cricket
Once again it was another highly disappointing year as far as Pakistan cricket is concerned.
Ever since Misbah-ul-Haq was appointed in three roles, Pakistan cricket is on a consistent decline. Misbah has turned Pakistan team mentality from aggressive to defensive and the entire year 2020 was a complete failure.
Pakistan cricket team manage to beat only Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Test matches, while green caps lost to England and New Zealand. Pakistan team did manage to beat minnows Zimbabwe 2-1 in One Day Internationals and also inflicted whitewash against touring Zimbabwean team in the T20 Internationals.
After appointing Misbah in three roles, Pakistan Cricket Board top brass finally realised their blunder and first hired former captain Younus Khan as batting consultant for England tour and then extended his contract till 2023 world cup, which is a good sign. Misbah also had to step down as chief selector as well and former Test cricketer Muhammad Wasim was appointed as a chief selector by the PCB.
Pakistan’s premier tournament Quaid-e-Azam Trophy was also organised by the PCB when the world was completely shut down due to Corona pandemic.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s major success of the year 2020 was holding the entire PSL-5 in the country, which was organized in two phases due to corona outbreak, PSL first started in February and completed in November.
The major development of PSL-5 was Lahore Qalandar’s rise, who in the previous editions fail to make it to the finals, but this year, Qalandar’s not only secured their place in the playoffs, but also played the final against eventual winners Karachi Kings, who became the crowned champions, after defeating Lahore Qalandar’s comfortably in the final.
PCB continued with their policy of showering countless blessings on useless people. Appointment of Nadeem Khan as Director high performance was another blunder of the PCB. At one end, the PCB terminated services of top coaches and number of low-paid staff was also shown the doors while on the other hand, the PCB hired highly below par coaches and officials on hefty monthly salaries.
Sami Aslam left Pakistan due to highly non-professional attitude of the board while country’s premier fast bowler Muhammad Aamir also announced his retirement from international cricket, sighting PCB’s step-motherly treatment and not being given the respect he deserves.
He openly blamed fats bowling coach Waqar Younis and head coach Misbah for his decision to quit international cricket, it was a huge surprise for many, when Misbah announced 35-member squad for the tour of New Zealand, where despite several players, who doesn’t have even ordinary records in domestic and international cricket manage to book a place in the national team and Shaheen’s, but surprisingly Aamir was not considered even in 35.
Pakistan lost T20 series 2-1 against Kiwis and the only victory was possible due to good performance by veteran Muhammad Hafeez, who proved his critics and especially former captain Ramiz Raja wrong, with his sensational run with the willow. Ramiz, never looked at his own records, but he kept on suggesting that Hafeez and Shoaib Malik must retire. It forced Hafeez to say, his 12-year-old son knows much better cricket then Ramiz, which is in fact reality as Ramiz was an ordinary player. When he was with the PCB, he hardly bothered to perform his official duties, but now he never misses a chance to criticise others.
The most embarrassing thing of the year 2020 was that none of the Pakistani players was considered for the ICC decade awards and the PCB kept on sleeping. The PCB for last two years remained more focused on settling scores with different people as Islamabad as for the second year in running denied to host first class matches. Club cricket for the second year in running failed to grab the attention of the PCB.
After introducing six teams for Quaid-e-Azam trophy last year, departmental cricket was closed down, which left a number of cricketers and officials jobless. Associations were dissolved and the PCB failed to streamline cricket affairs in the country.
All doors for fresh talent are closed down and despite repeated requests to PM Imran Khan, who is also the Patron of Pakistan Cricket Board, the PM remained unmoved from his stance of restricting first-class cricket to only six teams.
Babar Azam was appointed to lead Pakistan cricket team for all three formats. He was first named to lead Pakistan in T20, then ODIs and before the start of New Zealand tour, Babar was named national team skipper but before the start of T20 Internationals, Babar got injured and first ruled out to represent Pakistan in the shorter format and also had to miss the first Test and highly unlikely to be available for last Test match as well, which will start in January.
In the absence of Babar, Shahdab Khan led green caps in the three T20 Internationals and Muhammad Rizwan led Pakistan in Test matches. Pakistan top order and bowlers failed miserably and Pakistan lost the first Test against Kiwis. Had Rizwan, Fahim Ashraf and above all Fawad Alam didn’t perform out of the skin, Pakistan would have lost the first test with heavy margin.
It was a slap on selectors faces as Fawad was kept out of the national team for almost 11 years. Fawad stood firm and scored a fighting 102 against Kiwis in the second innings, although Pakistan lost the first Test, there were some positives as well, as Pakistan became the first team to take the Test into five days. Prior to them, New Zealand had beaten India and West Indies inside three days.
There is an urgent need to replace Misbah soon after the New Zealand series as Misbah is not the right person to take Pakistan cricket team to old glory days heights while Waqar and company also need to be shown the doors. Ehsan Mani, Wasim Gulzar Khan and above all Zakir Khan, who is enjoying perks and privileges for more than two decades and is a proven failure in all the roles he has been given, should also be sacked.
It is high time to appoint likes of Zaheer Ababs, Rashid Latif and Mohsin Hassan Khan to take Pakistan cricket forward. 2021 is a highly significant year as World T20 will be held in India, while Pakistan is out of ICC Test Championship race. It is hoped Patron Imran Khan will take action as Pakistan cricket is at the lowest ebb and any further delays in removing these highly incompetent persons from the PCB will spell further disaster and agony for the national team.
If these people and especially Misbah was allowed more time, there is every possibility that Pakistan might have to play qualifying rounds to get a place in ICC mega tournaments. What a decline! Once the world champions, world T20 champions, winner of ICC Champions Trophy and now they are at the brink. The masses demand action against the PCB and highly incompetent Misbah and co, it is hoped that the PM will take action and year 2021 dawn will bring a new revolution in Pakistan cricket.