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Pakistan batsman spoke about the reasons behind the downward spiral affecting the fortunes of Pakistan’s Limited Over Teams and lack of proper opportunities afforded to him by the administration.
 
By Amir Husain (2nd September, 2016)
 
Pakistan’s current ODI ranking has been a matter of concern for fans and experts alike for a good number of months. However, buoyed by their performance in the Test series during the current tour of England, it was widely expected that Pakistan’s cricketers would also be able to give a good account of themselves in the One-Day format of the game. Whilst the team exhibited some degree of skill and talent in the first two games, what transpired in the third ODI at Trent Bridge was beyond the wildest dreams of many, including the opposition.

In spectacular fashion, the England batsmen unleashed an awesome but humiliating batting display which shocked even the most hardened of Pakistan followers. The wheels came off the Pakistan bowling attack under a steady shower of fours and sixes as they conceded 444 runs which was the highest ever total scored in a One-Day international. The result was no better in the fourth ODI as well.

The manner of capitulation during this series has shocked many but to observers like the Pakistan batsman, Faisal Iqbal, the current display of surrender by Pakistan was simply a culmination of years of neglect and incorrect selection policies at all levels of cricket in Pakistan.

Currently participating in the Bolton League for the Kearsley Cricket Club, Faisal spoke exclusively to PakPassion.net about the reasons behind the downward spiral affecting the fortunes of Pakistan’s Limited Over Teams and lack of proper opportunities afforded to him by the administration.
 
The widespread condemnation of the Pakistan side’s dismal efforts during this series in general and in the third ODI game in particular has largely centred around the team’s inability to come to terms with the demands of the modern-day game. To Faisal Iqbal, the current malaise afflicting the Pakistan team cannot be simply attributed to the selection of the team on tour but is a by-product of years of bad planning as he explained, “There isn’t much one can do to fix the issues with the Pakistan ODI team. What we are seeing now is merely a reflection of incorrect selection policies of the past where players were picked due to personal likes and dislikes of the selectors. Merit had little to do with that and as a result deserving players were ignored whilst others were given chance after chance.”

Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur’s now famous warning to the ‘over 30’ players to shape up or ship out may have come as a breath of fresh air for long suffering Pakistan supporters but to Faisal, this does point to a failure of the past administrations to guide Pakistan cricket in the right direction.

“It is puzzling that we have players in the ODI team who have years of experience with hundreds of international games to their names, yet all of that experience seemed to have gone missing when push comes to shove. Is it not strange that players who have failed to contribute on this tour and in many games leading up to this tour have received so many chances until now? Why have they been persisted with? Clearly such players’ potential should have been judged much earlier and if they were not up to scratch then other players should have been given chances. The Trent Bridge result may well have been different if a fairer approach to team selection had been adopted. We would not be languishing at the lowly ninth position in the ODI rankings if the selection process had been more transparent. A fairer approach to team selection is needed.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently announced the full schedule of the domestic season with the National Twenty20 Cup kicking off the domestic season. The personal disappointment for Faisal Iqbal for not being part of any team in this tournament was superseded by his concern about the manner in which teams were selected for this competition.

“Obviously, I was disappointed about not being part of any of the regional teams in the ongoing National Twenty20 Cup but I am more worried about the manner in which a draft system has been incorrectly used for a tournament of such importance. I strongly believe that players for such tournaments should be picked for teams based upon their past records and potential as they could well be representing the country in the future. Instead, a draft system has been used which basically relies on personal preferences for players and that is a totally incorrect way to go about this.”

At thirty-four years of age and a veteran of forty-four international games where he has scored over fourteen-hundred runs, Faisal Iqbal would have expected himself to have represented his country on many more occasions by now. However, as he explained, his determination to carry on working hard in the face of disappointments was simply a reflection of his optimistic outlook and he hoped that the new management under Mickey Arthur would look to right the wrongs of the past.

“I am always optimistic about the future and regardless of what has happened in the past, my aim is to excel in the coming domestic season and show my worth to the selectors. All I need are more chances to show my worth as only when one is given an opportunity to show their worth without pressure of being thrown out at the smallest dip in form, can a true picture of a batsman emerge. I wish Mickey Arthur and his management the best and hope they will take decisions in the best interest of Pakistan”, he concluded.