PAKISTAN CRICKET TEAM: POOR SHOW MAY HURT CHANCES TO LIFT WORLD CUP,2019
Saurav Ganguly, the legendry cricketer and former captain of Indian Cricket, must be admonishing himself like few who others who predicted that Pakistan can lift the Cricket World Cup, 2019, after the pathetic performance of the team in the ODI series against England, prior to the World Cup. England thrashed Pakistan 4-0. Interestingly none of the former greats of Pakistani cricketers have convincingly said that Pakistan is favourite to win mega event. Coach Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz Ahmed both have cautiously said that if this happens or that clicks there are chances that Pakistan can win. The defeat against England raises many questions, that why PCB planned 5match series against the number one ODI team currently. Remember England is considered to be the favourite team to clinch the World Cup. No other team have played any series as Pakistan did, except Bangladesh who are playing against West Indies. The loss in the series is going to down the moral of the team as the defeat is huge and the World Cup is just ahead. The PCB should have planned for practice matches, as other teams did, as the series against England have exposed the weakness of Pakistan team to all the participating teams of the World Cup.
The fast bowling of Pakistan was the major cause of the defeat there seem to be no guideline from the bowling coach. Shaheen Shah Afridi, except the last game, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Muhammad Hasnain and Junaid Khan could not deliver, trying to get extra pace, their line and length was extremely poor paving the way for English batsman to score at their will. Spinners too could not penetrate the batting of England and the option for captain Sarfraz Ahmed was so limited that he was forced to use Haris Sohail and Fakhr Zaman as spinners quite early during England’s innings. Both fast bowlers and spinners were direction less as they pitched the ball frequently in the same line were English batsman were scoring freely. The fast bowlers were also under pressure due to the announcement of PCB selection Committee that Muhammad Amir will be the part of the World Cup Squad, this led to apprehension among the fast bowlers that who is not going to be the part of World Cup squad. This confusion was also the reason of bad performance of fast bowlers. The wickets of all the matches were docile and flat that also added to the misery of the fast bowlers as all English batsman made the Pakistani pace bowling attack pity ordinary.
Fielding was the major problem during the series, dolly catches were dropped, and ground fielding was at Its lowest ebb and return to the wicket keeper was sub-standard. Lot has to be done to improve the fielding for the World Cup, otherwise all bowling and batting performance will go in vain. The captaincy was fair enough but the defensive approach of Sarfraz Ahmed did not gave positive results so to win Sarfraz Ahmed should go for offence to win, otherwise after the World Cup many heads will roll. The Pakistan team has potential, but confusion in selection, sickness and injuries and defensive approach may hurt the chances to lift the World Cricket Cup, 2019.