CHENNAI: Three back-to-back defeats have put Babar Azam & Co’s World Cup campaign in disarray which seems to have become a hallmark of Pakistan cricket.
After the start they would’ve wanted in the World Cup by winning two games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Pakistan was outclassed by India, Australia and Afghanistan which leaves them with four points from five games.
The Green Shirts will now play South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand and England – all the games are now must-win for them, if they want to qualify for the semis.
It is mind-boggling to see how Pakistan has gone down from a world-class team to an unimpressive and hapless side in this tournament.
What happened in Ahmedabad during the game against India wasn’t unexpected, but it seems that Pakistan has failed to overcome that massive defeat by the hosts and then the loss against Australia added insult to their injuries.
India was the clear favourite, but Pakistan wasn’t as bad as they looked in that game, despite a reasonable start, Pakistan collapsed and were bowled out for a meagre 191 runs.
However, the game against Australia exposed two sides of the Pakistani bowling lineup. On the one hand, the bowlers delivered 152 dot balls while on the other hand, they conceded 367 runs in 50 overs.
Additionally, there seems to be a lack of planning and no effort is made to think out of the box.
Just a few months ago, Pakistan was termed the world’s best bowling attack, that best attack now seems to be nowhere. It is hard to digest that the reason for this lacklustre display of bowling is only because of Naseem Shah’s absence.
It may be one of the reasons, but who is to be blamed for the lack of situational awareness of the bowling attack?
It seems that we have systematically damaged the team ourselves, and now we are paying the price.
Former captain Wasim Akram has rightly pointed out that our players are least interested in first-class cricket, and this is the reason they’re not as impressive in ODIs as they can be in T20Is.
Another problem Babar Azam is facing is a lack of serious effort from his teammates on the field. The three-dropped catches, especially the one dropped by Usama Mir that provided Warner with a lifeline in the game against Australia, and then unimpressive fielding during the game against Afghanistan put a question mark on the standard of fitness.
It may be a harsh assessment, but the Pakistan team’s fielding was worse than a local club team. No effort, no energy, no intent, no attitude. Nothing at all. They looked lethargic from the beginning.
It is high time for Mickey Arthur, Grant Bradburn and Babar Azam to rethink their strategy and shift gears.
Pakistan is down but still not out as the tournament is still wide open.
Pakistan must adopt and display the “Pakistan Way” which was talked about, instead of the traditional “Pakistan way,” which puts the team in a situation where they’ve to depend on ifs and buts to qualify for the last stages.
It may be late, but not too late, Pakistan management still has the time to wake up and put things in order.