What was the real reason for snubbing Sarfaraz Ahmed, Waqar Younis?
In every field, humans invest in certain objects to get a desired output from them. In cricket too, teams invest in talented players before important tournaments, give them a maximum number of matches to play and work on their weak points so that they can help the team bag victories.
A year before the cricket World cup 2015, almost all teams, including Pakistan, invested in certain players. Australia gave a chance to Glenn Maxwell, developed his skills and turned him into a brilliant match finisher.
Shikhar Dhawan played for India in Australia, which got him used to the pitch conditions. Even though he was not able to perform, the Indian management decided to stick with him because they knew a domestic opener from India would take another few matches to adapt to the conditions, which would inevitably hurt their progress. Therefore, they gave Dhawan a chance and he has proven to be a good choice since he is amongst the top scorers of the tournament.
Now, let's take a look at the attitude of the Pakistani team management.
We played three big series before the World Cup, including two in UAE, plus the one in New Zealand. The most consistent player, other than our captain Misbahul Haq, was Sarfaraz Ahmed, whose form and positive aggression instilled belief in Pakistani fans; a belief that we have a firing batsman and a keeper who can take wickets on fast Australian pitches.
In New Zealand, our batting line-up, which included Sarfaraz, failed. But that does not mean that he cannot play on pitches on that side of the world. That's the time when our management team, consisting of Moin Khan and Waqar Younis, started playing the giddy goat, which continued when Waqar walked out of the press conference in an unprofessional manner.
Do you recall the time when Moin suggested Sarfaraz as the third opener in the absence of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad? Speaking to the press after Pakistan's match against UAE, our head coach said that this was more than enough to astonish fans and experts all over the world.
Our coach's statement made it seem as if he was throwing down the gauntlet as compared to Moin's statement, who proposed Sarfaraz as the third opener. According to Waqar, since we did not have a third opener, we took in Nasir Jamshed. The statement reflected upon the confused mindset of our team management.
How can Waqar, Moin and Misbah justify dropping their most promising player?
Pakistan played three important matches with an opener who cannot be called a good cricketer in his present condition, simply due to his batting and fielding mishaps.
This decision put pressure on the Pakistani team from the start.
Secondly, our wicket keeper, Umar Akmal, dropped easy catches that not only increased the work load of our bowlers but also drained their energy.
They did not try to accommodate Sarfaraz in the team. That’s okay. They tried Umer. That is alright as well. But allowing him to play against South Africa must have made them recognise his bravery and positive aggression against lethal fast bowlers. So why are they not admitting their mistake?
Waqar's attitude and behaviour has raised red flags in the dressing room. He has always remained a narcissistic hero and will continue to be so.
We as a nation rarely recognise and admit mistakes, and Waqar proved to be a part of this setup. The way Waqar scorned at the reporter who asked him about Sarfaraz, failed to depict that he is a respective player in a gentleman's game.
However, Pakistan looked completely confident in their batting against South Africa, as well as their bowling. The bowlers bowled with more confidence, belief and energy knowing that there is a lesser chance of dropped catches behind the wicket.
Our management should stick with the regular keeper and leave all other matters till the end of the World Cup, when new plans will be needed, especially since Misbah and Shahid Afridi will be retiring from the gentlemen's game.
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