The semi final has just ended and the result is depressing for the Pakistan supporter. This blog congratulates India for this huge victory and wishes them well for the final. However this is my personal review of the match and the blog visitors may or may not agree with my views. You are all free to comment as you wish. Javed A Khan might do a thread in the very near future reviewing this match and Pakistan’s campaign and his views might differ to mine.
Pakistan was taunted as an “auto rickshaw” by an Indian commentator and this was ridiculed and lamented by Pakistanis. Yet after their performance perhaps it was justified for the Indian to comment that Pakistan is an auto rickshaw and India is a BMW.
The whole nation was backing Pakistan for various reasons. Firstly Pakistan is undergoing a social and political crisis. The Pakistani citizen is a demoralised and frustrated individual. Secondly Pakistan as a nation was perturbed by the India-Pakistan relations of the past few years most significantly those in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. A lot of Pakistanis considered that beating India on its own turf would be some kind of retribution for the way Indian media and politicians reacted against Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks. Above everything else this was a semi final and the passionate Pakistani fans wanted this controversy-ridden team to be victorious.
The way I see analyse Pakistan’s position is that whatever positives were garnered from their campaign, the negatives from this match completely neutralised them. I am not disregarding the team topping the group and beating Australia. But the usual suspects of the Pakistan team- poor fielding, Misbah’s performance, inconsistent Gul- these deficiencies played their part in Pakistan’s defeat and this is not something that has only developed in this tournament, these calamities have plagued Pakistan for years.
What hurts is that they have not been remedied. It is all well to laud the team for reaching the semi final but if selection
standards for PCB were merit-based then this loss would have never occasioned. By not criticising this team are we not encouraging these standards to remain in the team? If serious action is not taken pursuant to a loss in a World Cup, it can never be taken.
Apart from the above mentioned causes of this loss, Younis Khan’s performance was puzzling. This is a complete one-off for Younis who is generally a positive player. The criticism is not that he was slow- the criticism is that he failed to rotate the strike and could not anchor the innings. Misbah ul Haq was the same. Misbah deserves more criticism than Younis because Misbah batted lower down the order and showed he has potential to hit. The question every one is asking is why Misbah could not accelerate any earlier if he could accelerate later? The answer is that Misbah was playing to reach 30 come what may and only then would he attempt to hit. This is because he wanted to ensure a 30+ score next to his name so that he can be selected for the next assignment which is against West Indies. Basit Ali has commented today that Misbah was playing to get his 50. Not only this, Misbah’s fielding throughout the tournament has been suspect. He is considered to be a fit cricketer despite his age. However there seemed to be zero intent from Misbah to dive to collect the ball. His
pick up and throws were slow too. I am not alleging match fixing here but this is something that needs to be considered. Why did Misbah field so poorly in this Cup when he is generally considered to be a decent fielder (Ramiz Raja would say he has “bucket like” hands).
Finally Umar Gul erred in line and length to the delight of Sehwag. With Sehwag the margin of error is zero. Gul was under pressure, no doubt. He seemed to be a different player today. This performance has proved that Gul cannot manage as Pakistan’s lead bowler in a high voltage contest. Pakistan must recruit another lead strike bowler.
This World Cup campaign has raised some salient questions which, if don’t get addressed now, will never get addressed. Why was Kamran Akmal selected when he has single handedly lost Pakistan so many matches? Why were an out of form Younis and Misbah selected? Why has the PCB not realised that Misbah plays selfishly? Why does Pakistan’s fielding still lose them matches? How do players get selected at international level if their fielding is poor? These questions have been asked millions of time before, but this defeat is the biggest showcase of them all for these questions to receive the attention and prominence that they deserve.
Pakistan must take strict action and Younis, Misbah and K Akmal must either retire or be dropped permanently. Ijaz Butt must go. Pakistan lost this match after a good WC campaign but the PCB’s incompetence is also responsible for this defeat because of the constant unjustified selection of K Akmal and Misbah.
I do not take pride in sulking after this defeat, but I know for a fact that if the PCB is let off now for selecting K Akmal and Misbah for this WC squad, then we can see these two players losing matches for Pakistan for a long time to come. The Pakistani media and fans must strike while the iron is hot and PCB must be held accountable for this defeat.