Pakistan needs one good win to get in motion: Miandad


Shambolic is a mild word to describe Pakistan’s 150-run defeat against the West Indies. It really hurts to see the planning of Pakistan’s think-tank in the ICC Cricket World Cup. The men in ‘shocking green’ look like a fractured outfit and the wounds are only getting deeper and deeper. The scars of defeat against India were still fresh and West Indies has simply rubbed more salt onto it.

No matter what reasons the team management and the captain has for two defeats in a row, the simple thing is they are not learning from their mistakes.

It seems Misbah-ul-Haq is fast losing confidence in his bowlers and the batsmen are not coming out of lean form either. You play One-Day cricket according to your strength and if Misbah had chosen eight batsmen what’s the logic of bowling first after winning the toss?

Pakistan’s bowling unit doesn’t have the class of a Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis. And if a mediocre bowling attack doesn’t get enough support from the fielders, over 300 runs is inevitable. All four dropped catches should have been taken, but a fielder of Shahid Afridi’s class dropped two while Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Irfan also grassed regulation chances.

By far West Indies looked better prepared for this crucial Pool B match after Ireland knocked them over in the first match. They grafted their innings with a set plan. They didn’t look for big shots until the 40th over before launching a brutal assault on Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack off the last 60 deliveries.

Only experienced bowlers could master the art of bowling slow deliveries. Unfortunately, inexperienced Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz obliged Andre Russell with so many of those slower ones that the ball disappeared to all parts of the ground.

Pakistan’s problem is they have only three fully-fledged bowlers and in that too Shahid Afridi is not getting much assistance from the wickets in Australia and New Zealand. Good teams will never allow Afridi to have numbers in the wickets column. They know Pakistan has enough weak links in their bowling and they can feast on it. West Indies also knew it well once Afridi’s 10 overs were gone, they have enough hard-hitters to swell the total against club-like bowlers. They were not wrong!

I don’t agree with the selectors’ composition of Pakistan’s set of 15 players. But I guess now that the tour selection committee is also in a fix how to fix the playing XI. Cricket fanatics in Pakistan are scratching their heads not to see Sarfraz Ahmed in the playing XI, but unfortunately men who matter don’t know about it! The batting form of Younis Khan is crystal clearer. Misbah needs to sort out these two problems before it gets too late for him.

There were no king cobras on the pitch to scare the Pakistan batsmen. Jerome Taylor simply exploited the weakness of Pakistan batsmen by bowling in the right areas — just outside off stump. It was simply game, set and match at one for four after Pakistan’s top order was rolled over by Taylor.

Misbah seems to hide himself behind his struggling fleet of batsmen. He’s the one who should have led from the front and batted at No. 3. He’s the one who is in a bit of batting form and could have potentially seen off the new ball. Sadly he looks a weak decision-maker.

Nobody could raise questions if you give proper chance to players at proper slots and they fail to perform. But when you start shuffling the batting, it means you have absolutely no clue what you are doing. Cricket was by chance a long time ago. Not now. Every team does its homework on the opposition and West Indies had masterfully done that.

It makes little sense to pack your playing XI with eight batsmen. If six batsmen can’t do the job, how could you expect the No.7 and 8 to blaze centuries for you.

From 25 for five, it was like dreaming in broad daylight for a miracle. Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal’s half centuries couldn’t even narrow down the margin of huge defeat and it badly exposed Pakistan’s plan of eight batsmen.

West Indies should have been under more pressure after losing against Ireland, but the body language of Pakistan players looked more tense than their rivals. It reflected on the field when Pakistan fielders dropped a series of catches. I fear that if Pakistan’s fielding continues to perform like this, even lesser teams would give them tough time in the remaining group matches.

Two bad games still doesn’t mean that Pakistan is out of the ICC Cricket World Cup. It needs to focus on the knockout stages and just forget about the semifinal and final. It needs to put its right thinking cap on pretty quickly and win, at least, three of the next four matches to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Pakistan needs one good win to get in motion. Look for specialised ones at the specialised spots in playing XI, no matter what price you have to pay.