Once, twice, three times, four, then five!! How many times can a team drop the greatest run machine in the world and expect to win? Even having done that we were in with a chance; that is how much fortune favoured us at Mohali.
Each time it happened, the hearts of every Pakistani was in their mouths! I expected Tendulkar to unleash terror just to celebrate and achieve yet another landmark. He was out of touch. Those runs were scrambled together through sheer temperament, full use of incredible talent and thorough professionalism.
Having gotten away with these blunders, and restricted the Indian batting armada to an achievable score, we threw it all away. A now, very typical, totally unprofessional performance led to huge disappointment. There are times when holding the head and saying nothing says more than can be imagined. This was what everyone supporting Pakistan cricket did last night.
The intention is not to castigate a defeated team but to analyse the lack of application that has over the last three years, perhaps more, embedded itself in the psyche and appears incurable. That there is talent is undeniable. That it is not gelling together is equally undeniable. As is the fact that nothing is being actively done to make it happen.
Having 35 plus runs under your belt, losing a partner, seeing that Munafs leg-cutter is biting and turning, which professional of caliber would even consider playing the shot that Hafeez attempted. This does not even cross the mind of a player at that level. The youngster, I guess you can forgive him, leaves his wickets open to square cut a good length ball pitched on the middle and leg. Again having 30 or so on the board.
Younis you can forgive and forget. Weve known how Misbah has been playing the last six weeks and more. It was pathetic to see him in the last overs painfully unable to get the ball past midwicket. This was reminiscent of Miandad in his last innings. He got 36 against England at Karachi but he was not even a shadow of himself. Time runs out for everyone; but remember these guys were or are younger then than Tendulkar is today!
I dont need to say anything about Afridi or Razzaqs innings. That was expected. But Umar Akmal was, yet again, another huge disappointment. Despite the pressure exerted by Misbahs apathy, he I believe has sufficient experience to pace an innings and keep it going. The flash in the pan stuff has to stop if he is to go on.
Having said this, one comes to the important question of whether it is easier to be defeated or to lose? I believe this is in the mental makeup of individuals; I also believe that to be defeated is easier to digest, because one learns. To lose one has to live with the blunders made literally forever, because that moment never comes back.
Statistics have us as having won yesterday. Tendulkar was out at 25; deducting the 60 he scored after, the Indian total is 201. We scored 231. Deduct the 21 runs scored off Umar Guls over and that total is 239; pretty damn close. So we werent defeated, we lost! We looked the gift horse in the mouth and were appropriately slapped down.
Deaf ears are responsible. A 21st century management set-up is desperately needed at Gaddafi (still so named I believe) Stadium to take stock and control. Man managers and strategists forecast the goals of winning teams. Pakistan cricket has seen nothing of that ilk in ages. Technical professionals of world standing prepare world-class teams to achieve the goals forecast. Our management and, more so, the player mafia have denied this factor repeatedly. Intekhab, I have respect for as a person, Ive known him well for fifty years. He is what he is. And that is not enough for Pakistan cricket as it stands.
More than half the team would have hung up their gear today, or should. They are past the sell by date. The youngsters need to have a serious rethink and take their guard again, for there is a lot of cricket to come, if you make it happen. The ball is being bowled at you.
The greatest achievements from the Mohali expedition can come from the interaction between the heads of the two governments. Set ancient animosities aside, brings cheer to our hearts. I believe the almost 1.5 billion people on this sub-continent want to live in harmony and peace. Let governments take a step back and let the people take a step forward. Im certain that we shall teeter and totter as all toddlers do but we will eventually learn to walk and then run and finally the marathon will be ours to celebrate. Long Live the sub-continent!
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