Pakistan Cricket have been improved over the past 15 months especially after the champions trophy. We have seen improvement in ODIs and T20is specifically as we have also climbed to No.1 position in T20Is and No.5 in ODIs. Credit should be given to both the players and the management including the selection committee.
However, lets look at the other side of the coin. Pakistan Cricket Board focus is all on Twenty 20 format, the interest and efforts for the betterment of ODIs and Test Cricket have not been observed over the past 2 years. Despite playing phenomenon test cricket in England in 2016, Pakistan got badly exposed in New Zealand and Australia even in the presence of two greats of Pakistan.
With the introduction of Pakistan Super League, there is not a shadow of doubt that Pakistan Cricket got a boost in the form of some talented and hard working cricketers like Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf. At the same time, PCB selected the PSL talent in the longer format, we have also seen these young inexperienced talented cricketers to fail in the longer format and in response they also got dropped from the limited overs squad where they deserved to play.
Pakistan Cricket Board have not arranged a single ODI series with a top 10 ODI side since 1 February, 2018. The last time we played South Africa was back in 2013, we faced England in 2016; furthermore, Pakistan did not even played Bangladesh since 2015 which is emerged as a good competitive side. Pakistan have faced Australia in 2017 where they lost 4-1; this year Pakistan faced New Zealand which was the only competitive ODI series before this Asia Cup 9 months ago, Pakistan’s young emerging team faced a humiliating defeat there without a single win in the 5 match ODI series.
Pakistan played 3 T20Is vs New Zealand, 3 T20Is vs West Indies, Tri T20I Series with Australia and Zimbabwe, 1 T20I vs Scotland in this year which shows the board’s interest in T20Is only however if you look at the number of T20Is played by other top nations like England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, you will find them much lesser than what Pakistan played this year.
Pakistan has played 5 ODIs vs Zimbabwe in the summers of 2018, which was unnecessary for the team who won Champions Trophy against a no.11 side who was not even playing with their full strength. Pakistan scored a lot of runs, secured records against Zimbabwe but after a long tour of easy opposition with the all main players of Pakistan, it shouldn’t be surprising if they collapse against better sides in Asia Cup.
There is a big discrimination with the domestic players as they are ignored even after scoring tons of runs and taking dozens of wickets each year while the players performing in PSL are preferred over them in Test & ODI format. PCB’s interest towards T10 leagues have also damaged Pakistan Cricket, the mindset of the players have been seen revolving around just hitting every single ball which is not the way cricket is actually played. No matter how fast the game becomes, technique, patience and hard work will always be the formula to succeed in all formats of cricket.
I as a cricket fan believes that this team still have the capabilities to win the ICC World Cup 2019 in England if couple of changes are made in the squad. This team need to play against top sides consistently, similarly players performing in the domestic format need to be given a platform to showcase their talent by providing them A Tours throughout the year. The culture of A tours have declined. This Asia Cup should not be a surprise for anyone, the same team also lost 5-0 vs New Zealand this year and 4-1 against Australia 20 months ago.
Its time to wake up PCB and make some bold steps!