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Put aside the grave political unrest in Pakistan and you see a society by and large based on morals. Among these, respect for elders is prevalent and regardless of the social changes occurring in a developing country, it is a moral that society should strive to sustain.
It is with that mentality; existence of rank and respect for those of greater experience, that makes society function. Servants, a concept foreign to most in the West, with their ‘master’, employee with their employer and cricket players with older cricket players.
Izzat, which is honour (or respect), permeates Pakistani society and is a concept which dictates the actions of most individuals. While on a social level, izzat and respect of elders is vital to Pakistan’s functioning society, its drip down into sport is detrimental to team spirit.
For ‘elders’ read ‘seniors’. We often read and hear Pakistani players refer to ‘seniors’ in the side. It’s like an elder brother relationship; a reverence when it goes well, dependence when it doesn’t.
The purpose of a team in any industry is that the components of the team work together to achieve a desired result. It is particularly important in sport; you win together, you lose together. To do this, you go in as equals and this is where the concept of seniority is holding the Pakistan team back.
Fundamentally, younger players coming in to the side or squad – Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Nasir Jamshed and the like, enter with an air of inferiority even if based on ability, they are at least the equal of more experienced pros.
This has a two-fold detrimental impact. Firstly, a younger player will not be themselves either in squad comradery or in their performances. They will defer to their seniors meaning they are not expressing their obvious natural talent.
Secondly, it leads to these younger players not taking their chances or responsibility. They will naturally look to senior players to get the team out of a hole. The prevalent attitude of deferring to elders manifests itself in ways which hinder the maturing and development of younger players coming into the side.
For Pakistani cricket to move forward, this structure needs to be demolished and a meritocratic selection and retention policy should be the dominating philosophy. Whether Messers Misbah, Younus and Malik are called “bhai” should be neither here nor there.
Younger players need to be treated as equals and quid pro quo they need to act as equals as well. The preferential treatment given to ‘seniors’ by both the selectors and other players must be arrested.
None of this is to say the team must lose respect for teammates; that is vital though the road must be made two ways and newer players be given their due respect.]]>
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau
It seems Thoreau could have been talking about Pakistani cricket. With much said about thepotential of young players, the system continues to deprive them of the foundations they need to beable to carry the team forward.
Pakistan have sneaked home against South Africa to level the series 2-2 with one game to play. The victory should not, however, paper over any cracks that persist in the team.
Whatever the result of the fourth ODI, in the big picture, is a moot point. The batting line-up chosenby Pakistan for this format has raised a lot of eye-brows. Team selections answer questions; thisPakistan mix is begging more questions.
200. That is the overall age of Pakistan’s top six batsmen (at the time of writing; at the time ofreading it has obviously increased). I am not one who thinks youngsters should be played for thesake of it. Nor am I one who thinks “seniors” should be selected based on reputation. The balance iskey and Pakistan’s selectors are increasingly getting that balance wrong.
One-Day internationals are approached differently across the globe. For the Asian countries, theyare the commercial key. For Australia, England and South Africa, they are the breeding ground forplayers of the future. To see if a player can establish himself at international level, they tread waterin ODIs.
Mohammed Hafeez as vice-captain and with a useful bowling arm and Misbah Ul-Haq as skipper arecertain starters. The questions over the top six come from the selection of Farhat, Kamran Akmal,Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik.
The four dismissed Australian players - Shane Watson, James Pattison, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja – failed to submit a report on the team’s and their personal performances with suggestions. But there was another string attached to the development which the coach – Mickey Arthur – wanted to transmit. He sent a stern warning across that nobody was above the system. He further elaborated his decision on a blog to make his concerns and priorities absolutely clear. Arthur said:
"Being late for a meeting, high skinfolds, wearing the wrong attire, back-chat or giving attitude are just some
examples of these behavioural issues that have been addressed discretely but continue to happen.”
These are all the disciplinary issues. Do they have an effect on the performance of a player? That is what Arthur believes and explains in the following way: "If we're deadly serious about getting back to number one in the world, all players need to raise the bar and lift their game. If not, we must be content at being number three or four or five in world cricket because we won't get any better. The players won't learn and we'll continue a vicious cycle.” Here you go! The mystery is solved, he has set some priorities for the team which he feels some players are not adhering to, and hence he pushed them aside and moved on. It sounds so simple but implementation of this unsympathetic philosophy and its likely impact in the longer run could be disastrous.
“For the sake of my career I went on to modify my bowling action which turned out to be productive for me. Now I can effectively bowl both ways with much ease”, added Anwar Ali.
Anwar Ali, 25, said that he had been concentrating on his batting as well, and his improved all-round performance in the past two seasons was evident. “The selectors picked me as an all-rounder for the India trip late last year, I couldn’t get a chance but I am hopeful of getting a go in the future”, said the Karachi-born Right-hander.
“After a good outing in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, now my focus is on the upcoming domestic one-day tournament, where I would strive to get the best bowler’s slot”, concludes Anwar Ali, who made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2008, his only international appearance for Pakistan till date.]]>
It is also a valid argument that this was not the first time that green caps surrendered in South Africa or in Australia for that matter, but this is also a reality that facilities such as highly qualified foreign coaches and a sizable number of support staff were not at the disposal of their predecessors yet the Misbah-led outfit faltered and faltered badly. Their accountability will and should be done but will it happen in Pakistan Cricket for the first time? Not at all.
Haven’t we seen inquiries after inquires from the dismal 2003 and 2007 World Cup campaigns then very recently after the 2009-10 Australia tour? After all the probes only the players paid the ultimate price and the other responsible were ignored or let off the hook. Who can forget the saddest event of the Pakistan Cricket history when three players got convicted and banned by the International Cricket Council but again apart from the players nobody from the team management was taken to task. The manager on that infamous England tour of 2010 went unquestioned.
Will the same happen this time around as well? If this is the case then such performances would keep on coming I am afraid. Yes, the players should be questioned and taken to task but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should also give a review to its decisions in the recent past.
Pakistan, not so far ago, beat the then number one team of England in the United Arab Emirates, however that winning combination was rattled by the PCB chairman himself. Even before that tour he put the fear in the mind of coach Mohsin Khan that he [Mohsin] would be replaced come what may. Imagine how a man, who is on the verge of embarking an important assignment, would feel with such a threat. The reason given by the chairman was that Mohsin Khan was not duly qualified for the job, fine but why this ‘golden principle’ wasn’t taken into consideration while appointing other key individuals for various slots in the Cricket board or with the team?]]>
By: Naveed Khan
A 3-0 drubbing and Pakistan, or Kash-istan, have now reached a crossroads where the next turn will be critical in determining the future of Test cricket’s home exiles.
As ever, context is crucial. Pakistan arrived in South Africa to play not just any away Test series – but a series against the number one side in the world. Key opener Taufeeq Umar was injured before the first Test and Junaid Khan unable to play in the latter two. The odds already stacked against the visitors piled a mile high since.
What followed was a shambolic first match, where removal of the South Africans for 253 was celebrated as if the series was complete and Imran Khan elected as leader of the nation. Subsequently, we saw a dismal 49 all-out and a 211 run defeat.
The second Test really summed up the “what if” nature of Pakistan; Kash-istan. An opportunity to gain a significant first innings advantage was thrown away and another diabolical batting performance meant Saeed Ajmal and co. only had 180-odd runs to defend.
The most recently concluded encounter saw an innings defeat; an embarrassment to any established Test nation. If only catches had been held and the bat not swung at the world’s best pace attack as much.Kash-istan were truly Zindabad.
However, where Pakistani cricket goes from here should be of more immediate concern that wonderment as to what went wrong. Too often Pakistan look back, react and try to move on. As ever, it is two steps back to go two steps forward. Surely roadmaps in Pakistan have progressed from these detours? It’s the hope that kills Pakistan fans.]]>
At the age of 19 years & 344 days, Ehsan Adil is the 50th Pakistani cricketer to make test debut in TEENAGE. Pakistan is way ahead of other test teams in this regard. Teenage test debutants for other teams are; India 29, Bangladesh 24, West Indies 18, New Zealand 17, Australia 15, Sri Lanka 12, South Africa 12, Zimbabwe 12 and England 5.]]>