The fault in our (cricket) stars

I’m not saying make Afridi captain again, although that seems plausible right now, I’m just saying move things...

Mohammad Nazar Syed October 16, 2014
I walked into the house to the sound of my father yelling and shouting. 99 out of a 100 times, it’s usually because of something my brother had done. But when I entered the house hearing both of them bellowing, it could mean only one thing – the Pakistan cricket team had failed... yet again. And what a time it was to lose.

With the World Cup only a matter of months away, the Pakistani team could not have chosen a worse moment to be whitewashed, literally, by the host team of the forthcoming tournament.

The issue is not that they lost, rather the manner by which they accepted defeat. A common thread can be drawn from the recent matches that Pakistan has played. In the first ODI, Pakistan’s batting collapsed to 162. In the second ODI, after an opening stand of 126, Pakistan succumbed to a mere 215 and Australia won with half the side to spare. In the last and most humiliating ODI of the series, Pakistan failed to make a couple of runs in the last over and handed the ODI series whitewash to the Aussies. The common thread is easy to spot now – the fiasco of the Pakistani batting order.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Pakistani team choke before a huge event. In December of 2002, Pakistan lost a 4-1 series against South Africa, just a couple of months before the main event of 2003. We all know how that went down (moment of silence). Just to keep the saying ‘history repeats itself’ alive, Pakistan lost another series to South Africa in the February of 2007, just one month before the humiliating elimination of the team from the 2007 World Cup in West Indies (another moment of silence for the team as well as Bob Woolmer). Not to sound like a pessimist here though, but the odds sure don’t look in our favour for the forthcoming world event.

As a poet once said,
“Girtay hain shehsawaar he maidan-e-jang mein”

(“Only those who lead the line, fall.”)

The Pakistani team has certainly fallen. With Ajmal in doubts of returning, and Mohammad Hafeez also being questioned for suspect of action, things don’t look so bright for the men in green. The current whitewash has damaged the spirits of the team, but most importantly of the nation. The nation that deems its players national heroes, conquerors of their hearts, champions of their worlds have been let down more times than necessary. Within seconds, these heroes turn into villains and heart breakers.

The national team needs to realise this by now.

Now, you may disagree with Imran Khan’s politics, but the man knows his cricket. More often than not, he has come out and said that the Pakistani team can never win with such a defensive attitude. Their attitude of ‘fearing losses’ limits them from winning. That is exactly the kind of behaviour we saw in this series. I mean, if you’ve lost the series, that doesn’t mean that the captain should sit out of the final game. That’s a loser’s mentality, proving Khan’s theory exactly.

Maybe we need a more aggressive approach. I’m not necessarily saying make Afridi captain again, although the chances of that seem more reasonable at the moment, I’m just saying move things around. Come back with a progressive approach, a breath of fresh air. Albeit, seeing Akmal out finally gave Sarfaraz that whiff of air he needed. Maybe we need more shuffling of that sort. But this conundrum of confusion in the team has to stop to open up opportunities for the future.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, for we are underlings.”

At this point, we definitely think of ourselves as underlings; a subordinate class of cricketers not fit for the World Cup. But the faster we clear the faults within ourselves, the more accomplished our future will be. The Pakistani team still has an ample amount of time to fix their mistakes. Two more series are coming up, prior to the World Cup, both against the host teams and at the venues of the awaited world event. They can still turn things around and repress their mistakes, capitalise on their strengths and pull this low self-esteemed nation back up to its feet so they hope again, as they have always done.

In a matter of months, I want to step into my house with loud cries of joy and excitement, hearing words of encouragement and praise while my father and brother back the green shirts in their pursuit of the golden cup and at the highest spot of rankings.

It has been done before, and it can be done again.
WRITTEN BY:
Mohammad Nazar Syed Nazar is a writer and poet based in Canada. His debut publication is called 'A Rush to the Stars' and is a collection of his poetry. He tweets as @mnazarsyed (https://twitter.com/mnazarsyed)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (4)

Sara | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Because players aren't selected on merit.....who plays depends on who is the best supporter of the corrupt PCB bosses ! Like everything institution in this country it is rotten to the core! Look at the Pakistani players who were never given a proper chance here and have gone abroad and have been picked to play for England, Australia and South Africa.... There is plenty of great talent in this country but unfortunately talented players who don't subjugate themselves to the politics of the PCB will never ever ever have a career in Pakistan.
L. | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend I know, I know, but that's the life of a Pakistan cricket fan. When they get you high, it's really high and the lows are really low. Ask me, who stayed up watching each game till early hours in the morning- only to see my team lose :( After this stint, I do not like misbahs approach to captaincy AT ALL. "We were discouraged" and? You are not gonna get encouraged until you improve, which you won't, cos you are sitting there making excuses. It's a vicious cycle! But it's not like our criticism after world t20 left hafeez any chance of World Cup captaincy. Poor guy is a better captain than Misbah and afridi combined! @author, don't worry man, that's the thing with Pakistan, we can win on the last ball! You never know; it is australia, the final is in Melbourne, can history repeat itself?
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