It’s been 25 years since Pakistan won its first and only World Cup 1992 in Australia after defeating England in the final. The most important part of the final was when Wasim Akram took 2 important wickets in the 44th over. The Pakistani team in 1992 World Cup was “electrifying” and full of passion. The Pakistani captain, Imran Khan was one of the most dominant captain in that time and every time he walked on the field, he made sure he fights like a tiger, like a warrior.
Sadly after 1992, Pakistan hit a rough patch. Pakistan was still one of the best but lost it’s consistency .
Pakistan only made it to the World Cup final once after 1992. That was in 1999 when Wasim Akram led Pakistan to the World Cup final against Australia. Unfortunately, Pakistan couldn’t stand the Australians and got all out on 132 batting first. Australia won by 8 wickets and Pakistan suffered a World Cup Final defeat.
After World Cup 1992, Pakistan played 6 World Cups. Out of which 1999 and 2011 were amazing for Pakistan. In World Cup 1996, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka were the hosts. Pakistan only made it to the quarter-finals with suffering a defeat against the rivals, India. World Cup 1999 started in England and Netherlands, just 3 years after World Cup 1996. Wasim Akram again was the captain. He led Pakistan to the final. Wasim Akram is one of the most decent captain Pakistan ever had. Pakistan was the runner-up in 1999. It was a great World Cup for Pakistan, making it to the finals in English conditions was amazing.
The next World Cup was in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe in 2003. Waqar Younis was announced as the captain till the end of the World Cup. It was one of the worst World Cup Pakistan ever played including a humiliating defeat against England. Pakistan was knocked out in the group stages. It was also the last World Cup of the Legendary Pakistani opener, Saeed Anwar.
West Indies hosted the World Cup 2007. Pakistan had to go through another disastrous World Cup campaign. Pakistan was again knocked out in the group stages. After defeat against Ireland, the team was already in a big shock until Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room few hours later after the defeat. Later it was announced that Bob Woolmer had passed away. This news was painful for the world of cricket. Pakistani team again suffered a big loss. Inzimam later announced that he will retire. Bob Woolmer meant a lot to Pakistani team. He was revolutionary for the cricket and he wanted to revolutionise Cricket Pakistan. He was devoted.
Shahid Afridi was the captain in World Cup 2011. Pakistan won all the matches in the group stage except the one against New Zealand. Pakistan faced West Indies in the quarter-finals and dominated the West Indians with their bowling attack. Pakistan won the quarter-final by 10 wickets. Pakistan qualified for the semi-finals. India hosted Pakistan in Mohali. There was a moment when the world thought it’s Pakistan who’s going to take up the cup! India batting first, gave Pakistan the target of 261. Wahab Riaz had the spell of his life taking 5 for 46 runs. Pakistan had a fine start until the top order collapsed. Pakistan lost by 38 runs. Afridi resigned from the captaincy. Misbah ul Haq was now the captain. Pakistani team was expected to be on a firm form after a great World Cup but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen. Pakistan lost its consistency. Lost many series before the World Cup 2015.
World Cup 2015, Australia and New Zealand hosted. Hafeez was ruled out after picking up an injury days before the World Cup. New names like Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali were unexpectedly selected. Junaid Khan was yet again ignored. Pakistan started the World Cup with a defeat against India. The second game was even worse against West Indies as our batting collapsed and West Indies won. The 3rd game was a do or die for Pakistan. Sarfraz replaced Nasir Jamshed in the squad. The rain limited the game till 43 overs. South Africa failed to chase a low target because of Wahab and Irfan’s brilliance. The game was on, Pakistan had a chance to make it to the quarter-finals. Pakistan won next three games against Zimbabwe, UAE and Ireland. Pakistan faced Australia in the quarter-finals. Its always difficult to face the hosts in the World Cup but Pakistan did show some fight in it. Unfortunately after one of the best spell in World Cup history by Wahab Riaz, Pakistan still lost and had to say Goodbye to the World Cup campaign.
So what does it takes to win a World Cup? A captain who’s willing to shine a rock into a gem and no matter what, they fight till they end and they never stop fighting until they don’t win. Devoted players and players who don’t want to be better but to be the best. Main problem is that the PCB still has not given domestic the status it deserves and the facilities are not the required one either. Pakistan needs a proper platform where domestic players can perform every time they play with their best efforts.
The main question is, “Can we repeat World Cup 1992?” . Yes, we can. The team needs nation’s full support and let them know we are always going to love them for their fight for the pride of the country. Pakistan can fight again to be the World Champions. That’s exactly what we did 25 years ago. Cricket unites Pakistan.