KARACHI: With the recent 2-1 defeat against four times One-Day International (ODI) world champions Australia, Pakistan count their third consecutive ODI series defeat under the captaincy of Misbahul Haq. The tally of losing series commenced with the crushing 4-0 defeat against England earlier this year, followed by an astonishing 3-1 defeat against Sri Lanka in June and now against Australia by 2-1, all coming in the familiar Asian conditions, has left Pakistan cricket fans in despair. They now seriously question the deteriorating performance of the national side and its ability to compete effectively in the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.
The fact is that we have not been able to prevail in a series decider since June 2002, in a three or five-match bilateral ODI series. During the last decade, we have missed out on winning series-deciders 10 times — against England and South Africa in 2003, India in 2004, South Africa in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2009, New Zealand in 2009, England in 2010, South Africa in 2010 and Sri Lanka and Australia this year.
The reasons might be numerous, the first being the unavailability of dependable match finishers who could ease the team to victory in critical situations, like Mike Hussey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Lance Klusener, Moin Khan and many others have done for their teams. The mindset of Pakistani cricketers has gone too defensive, suffering immensely from the absence of attacking leaders such as Imran Khan and Wasim Akram. It is high time that Pakistan set their goals right and start playing like they do in the Test arena where they are ranked a creditable fourth position.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.
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