Enough with the negativity, we won!
Rather then be encouraged by the fact that Pakistan had managed to restrict Australia to a target of 180, we began fretting over what our batsmen would do.
After fifteen long hard years and a lot of heartbreaking moments we have finally managed to cross the psychological barrier and beat Australia in a test match. How big an effect this losing streak had on the psyche of our team was evident from today’s play in Leeds. Requiring 40 runs to win with 7 wickets in hand at the start of the days play, Pakistan stuttered, stumbled, and just as memories of Sydney began flowing back, managed to cross the finish line.
For a long time I have felt that no matter what the target is, be it 180 or 380, the last 50 runs have always been the hardest for our batsmen. Being so close to victory seems to bring out all the negativity and lack of confidence in players and fans alike. As if we can’t believe that we are going to win. Even as we inched closer to the target, people around me began saying stuff like “next ball the batsmen is going to get out” and “We won’t make it”.
The players have psychologically suffered a lot and as a die hard fan, I hope this experience goes a long way in developing mental strength among our inexperienced and young squad. But what hit me the most was how much the psyche of an average Pakistani fan was scarred by this run on the whole and especially the last Sydney test.
When Pakistan was set a target of 180 to chase, four more then the target on that tragic day in Sydney, all hell broke loose on Facebook, status’s like “Sydney deja vu”, “God help our batsmen” and “Please revoke Pakistan’s test status, they don’t deserve it” started popping up. Some people began distancing themselves from the Pakistani team and hiding behind defense mechanisms. It felt as if Pakistan had been set a target of over 400.
Ironically it seemed more people were confident in the last test of a miracle when Pakistan were actually chasing above 400 at lords. If Bangladesh had been set a target of 180 to win in the fourth innings of a test match, I am sure their supporters would have been more confident of pulling off a victory then we were, and that say’s a lot. Rather then be encouraged by the fact that we had managed to restrict Australia to a target of 180, we began fretting over what our batsmen would do.
Earlier this month coach Waqar Younis had said that this was going to be a learning tour and so far that has held true. But in my opinion the biggest lesson the young team has so far learnt is how to face the ghosts of past. Team after team came up against Australia in these 15 years only to loose the match mentally before it actually ended. After exorcising the ghosts of Sydney and Michael Hussey in this short series against Australia we can be proud of this young batch of players and their young captain. Let’s just hope the players and fans alike can now use this experience to drive away the negativity in our psyche and be a bit more positive and confident. After all if we as Pakistani supporters aren’t willing to back our team in times of hardships, who will?