Thank God it’s over — the plight of Team Pakistan Down Under. Even though our players were never expected to pull off a miracle on the Australian soil, it was painful to see them fare like club cricketers — even worse. We were not defeated, we were demolished. The Aussies were merciless. They outperformed us in all departments of the game. They literally pounded us into submission. There was not a single day on the whole tour when we had the time to breathe easy. We lost the T20 series 2-0 and if it had not been for the rain in Sydney, it would have definitely been a 3-0 whitewash. The hosts then cake-walked to victory in both Tests of the series.
There is, however, nothing unusual in Pakistan’s humiliation on the latest tour. The loss at Adelaide is their 14th Test defeat Down Under — all more or less in a similar fashion — since the 1999 tour of the Wasim Akram men to Australia that came in the wake of the World Cup the same year. Pakistan’s last win in Australia had come in 1995 at Sydney. Our batsmen have a history of struggling with the pace, bounce and movement that the Australian conditions offer. So it’s kind of welcome to see two centuries scored in as many Tests — one each by Babar Azam and tail-ender Yasir Shah. But why our bowlers — almost all of whom are reasonably quick — fail to take advantage of the same conditions is indeed a mystery.
The demolition Down Under is a bad news for the team management too. Misbah-ul-Haq’s dual role as Headcoach and Chief Selector has already come under scathing criticism. Apart from former cricketers, PM’s Special Assistant Naeem-ul Haq has called for his removal. Ali Zaidi, a former federal minister, has also expressed displeasure over Pakistan’s poor performance in Australia. Bowling coach Waqar Younis is unlikely to escape criticism either. Are we going to see a head or two roll?
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2019.