Pakistan cricket: Some thoughts on its past, present, and future


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    Pakistan cricket: Some thoughts on its past, present, and future

    I have been a member of this forum for many years but have not posted a new thread more than two or three times. I am now in my late seventies and have followed Pakistan cricket as a loyal fan ever since Fazal Mahmood's brilliant performance at the Oval.

    I should mention though that I was born in East Pakistan and have never lived for any length of time in what is now Pakistan. Pakistan, however, is the land of my ancestors on my father's side and many of my closest family still live there. For me Pakistan will always be a place that is dear to my heart but it remains a place with many flaws and shortcomings.

    In many comments and posts I see an underlying message stated or implied and that is that the issues faced by our cricket team are a reflection of the state of the country as a whole. This is something we must acknowledge. What strikes me about our cricket team and our fans reaction to it is that there is no middle ground. There is brilliance and disaster, there is adulation and condemnation, overconfidence and abject surrender. Perhaps a whole book needs to be written on the subject but I will only mention two personal experiences that throw some light on the psychology of the country.

    I once went to see a first class match in Lahore. I was surprised that it was being played with no spectators and security stopped me from going in. However, when I mentioned who I was staying with not only was I allowed in I was treated like royalty and introduced to Whatmore the coach and offered lunch etc. The other incident was when I applied for a visa to go to Pakistan. This proved tricky as my wife is English and my birth place on my Canadian passport is Bangladesh. For my wife they said the application would take a few weeks. Once again, I had to contact a highly placed acquaintance in Islamabad and the visa was available the next day.

    What do these incidents reveal? That shows how much depends on contacts and favours, it shows how much insecurity there is and also suggests that merit or deserving are less important than who you know. Too often it appears that players are selected on the basis of contacts and other factors. While I am all for having our own coaches the reality is that local coaches seem to be unable to make objective decisions. Also there is the sad fact that most cricketers in Pakistan face a precarious future and this increases the potential for decisions being made based on the need to protect someone's place in the team. Another problem seems to me to be the fear of criticism shown by selectors. This often leads them to persist with players who are out of form or past their prime.

    Ironically, the timid approach usually brings about a storm of protest but in the end that seems to have no effect. Why on earth was Fawad Alam playing in the third test? I had been mystified by the way he was ignored for years but what is the point with persisting with him now? And why was Faheem Ashraf not in the team? The attitude to Faheem Ashraf is also puzzling but seems to be part of the obsession with sheer pace. Our bowlers try to bowl as fast as they can and seem to expect wickets with every delivery. When this doesn't happen they seem to have no clue about how to bowl. The Australian bowlers showed that especially in test cricket you need discipline and patience and need to work to get your wickets. Again all of this suggests some of the failings of our cricketers when it comes to the mental aspect of the game.

    One other aspect that is perhaps of the greatest concern is the tendency in our cricket to play for yourself rather than the team and even to undermine the success of those who may potentially be a threat to you. I am aware of some actual cases though of course it can be hard to prove that there was in fact an ulterior motive. Much as I admire Babar Azam, I fear that making him captain is neither good for the team nor good for his own career in the long run. I find a certain insecurity in his leadership. I know that people defend the fact that he is not fluent in English and, of course, knowing English should not be a factor but it is an international language and it is not as though we hear pearls of wisdom and eloquence from Babar in his own language.

    I am concerned at the apparent bias that seems to have emerged against those who do seem more educated and like it or not a well-educated person in Pakistan tends to be fluent in English and this is true as well of cricketers in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. I am really concerned that those who have been victims of bias seem to include Shan Masood, Imad Wasim, and Wahab Riaz. I can absolutely not understand why Shan is not in any of the squads. I was also appalled at Babar not letting Rizwan review. At best it showed poor judgement and lack of tactical awareness. I am wondering if Rizwan's relative decline in form and his apparent bizarre antics are a result of a lack of confidence in Babar as a leader.

    I know for some Babar can do no wrong but I am convinced that his being appointed leader in all formats is a very poor decision. Once again, it is the all or nothing mentality that explains the decision and we and Babar himself may live to rue it. I had hoped that the appointment of Ramiz Raja would have made a difference but so far I don't see any signs that things will change.

    I have enjoyed being part of this forum but have not posted very much over the years. I am not sure if my observations will be appreciated by many but I do feel that I have followed the game for a long time and while I am an avid supporter of Pakistan cricket, I can also view it with a degree of objectivity.
    Last edited by Saj; 30th March 2022 at 22:39.

  2. #2
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    Wonderful and heartfelt post @Veteran

    Hope you don't lose heart and continue supporting Pakistan!.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Wonderful and heartfelt post @Veteran

    Hope you don't lose heart and continue supporting Pakistan!.
    Thank you. Not planning to stop watching Pakistan cricket. Too ingrained a habit now. Also will continue always to check this forum. Have enjoyed reading your posts and those of some others.

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    Enjoyed reading that personal and insightful perspective.

    I agree about the volatility of our fans. However the frustration is understandable as Pakistan falls further behind the top teams with every passing year.

    Taking 50 over cricket for example. We haven't beaten Australia in a bilateral ODI series since 2002; England since 2005; and New Zealand since 2011. We're still capable of stringing decent ICC tournament campaigns together, but overall the last 20 years is a tale of mediocrity.

    Our administrators prefer making tall claims and populist statements than build long-term legacies, with honest people driven out or marginalised as with other national institutions.

    On education: the trend of players being increasingly drawn from smaller towns and villages is a double edged sword. A PHD isn't required to play cricket but education widens one's perspective of the world. The skills of self-evaluation and communication, essential to elite sport, are honed.

    Our guys however are insular, unaware of changing trends in the game, and painfully limited at articulating their thoughts. It's reflected in the lack of gameplans and opposition strategies, the misreading of conditions, and haphazard selections.

  5. #5
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    Interesting read.

    Pakistan cricket has been and always will be chaos, brilliance and absolute rubbish. You just never know what to expect from them on any given day.

    Hope to see you posting on PakPassion on a more regular basis.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veteran View Post
    I have been a member of this forum for many years but have not posted a new thread more than two or three times. I am now in my late seventies and have followed Pakistan cricket as a loyal fan ever since Fazal Mahmood's brilliant performance at the Oval.

    I should mention though that I was born in East Pakistan and have never lived for any length of time in what is now Pakistan. Pakistan, however, is the land of my ancestors on my father's side and many of my closest family still live there. For me Pakistan will always be a place that is dear to my heart but it remains a place with many flaws and shortcomings.

    In many comments and posts I see an underlying message stated or implied and that is that the issues faced by our cricket team are a reflection of the state of the country as a whole. This is something we must acknowledge. What strikes me about our cricket team and our fans reaction to it is that there is no middle ground. There is brilliance and disaster, there is adulation and condemnation, overconfidence and abject surrender. Perhaps a whole book needs to be written on the subject but I will only mention two personal experiences that throw some light on the psychology of the country.

    I once went to see a first class match in Lahore. I was surprised that it was being played with no spectators and security stopped me from going in. However, when I mentioned who I was staying with not only was I allowed in I was treated like royalty and introduced to Whatmore the coach and offered lunch etc. The other incident was when I applied for a visa to go to Pakistan. This proved tricky as my wife is English and my birth place on my Canadian passport is Bangladesh. For my wife they said the application would take a few weeks. Once again, I had to contact a highly placed acquaintance in Islamabad and the visa was available the next day.

    What do these incidents reveal? That shows how much depends on contacts and favours, it shows how much insecurity there is and also suggests that merit or deserving are less important than who you know. Too often it appears that players are selected on the basis of contacts and other factors. While I am all for having our own coaches the reality is that local coaches seem to be unable to make objective decisions. Also there is the sad fact that most cricketers in Pakistan face a precarious future and this increases the potential for decisions being made based on the need to protect someone's place in the team. Another problem seems to me to be the fear of criticism shown by selectors. This often leads them to persist with players who are out of form or past their prime.

    Ironically, the timid approach usually brings about a storm of protest but in the end that seems to have no effect. Why on earth was Fawad Alam playing in the third test? I had been mystified by the way he was ignored for years but what is the point with persisting with him now? And why was Faheem Ashraf not in the team? The attitude to Faheem Ashraf is also puzzling but seems to be part of the obsession with sheer pace. Our bowlers try to bowl as fast as they can and seem to expect wickets with every delivery. When this doesn't happen they seem to have no clue about how to bowl. The Australian bowlers showed that especially in test cricket you need discipline and patience and need to work to get your wickets. Again all of this suggests some of the failings of our cricketers when it comes to the mental aspect of the game.

    One other aspect that is perhaps of the greatest concern is the tendency in our cricket to play for yourself rather than the team and even to undermine the success of those who may potentially be a threat to you. I am aware of some actual cases though of course it can be hard to prove that there was in fact an ulterior motive. Much as I admire Babar Azam, I fear that making him captain is neither good for the team nor good for his own career in the long run. I find a certain insecurity in his leadership. I know that people defend the fact that he is not fluent in English and, of course, knowing English should not be a factor but it is an international language and it is not as though we hear pearls of wisdom and eloquence from Babar in his own language.

    I am concerned at the apparent bias that seems to have emerged against those who do seem more educated and like it or not a well-educated person in Pakistan tends to be fluent in English and this is true as well of cricketers in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. I am really concerned that those who have been victims of bias seem to include Shan Masood, Imad Wasim, and Wahab Riaz. I can absolutely not understand why Shan is not in any of the squads. I was also appalled at Babar not letting Rizwan review. At best it showed poor judgement and lack of tactical awareness. I am wondering if Rizwan's relative decline in form and his apparent bizarre antics are a result of a lack of confidence in Babar as a leader.

    I know for some Babar can do no wrong but I am convinced that his being appointed leader in all formats is a very poor decision. Once again, it is the all or nothing mentality that explains the decision and we and Babar himself may live to rue it. I had hoped that the appointment of Ramiz Raja would have made a difference but so far I don't see any signs that things will change.

    I have enjoyed being part of this forum but have not posted very much over the years. I am not sure if my observations will be appreciated by many but I do feel that I have followed the game for a long time and while I am an avid supporter of Pakistan cricket, I can also view it with a degree of objectivity.

    I have thought about this - and I came to the conclusion that, those of us who have migrated to the first world and have closely observed AND experienced the processes of how things work in the first world, have a totally different view of Pakistan when we look back at our country.

    The reason is, we have a comparative frame of reference.

    We unconsciously compare how things happen in Pakistan, and how have we experienced and observed the same processes in the first world.

    We have that luxury, folks in Pakistan don't.

    What you stated in your post are very obvious problems of our society in general, that have trickled down to the cricket team and PCB.

    However, for folks who live in Pakistan, these are not the problems anymore. They have gotten immune to these issues. For them, it's norm of the day and nothing needs to be done about. They have accepted it all and have learned to live with it.
    If you and I, were living in Pakistan for our entire lives, we would think and act the same.


    But now, we have seen and experienced the other side of the coin. So our thoughts are changed.

    You were lucky to get your tasks done by a mere phone call or introducing your host's name in Lahore.
    My cousin recently visited Pakistan and had to deal with a few govt offices (passport, real estate court, power of attorney etc). And according to her, it's almost impossible to have ANYTHING done without giving a bribe OR finding some sort of connection or acquittance in the office.

    In a country full of chest thumping "Ashiqan-e-rasool (saw), it's ironic how things actually work. There is a reason why we stand at #140 on the scale of corruption. This is what makes Pakistan a third world country.
    And this is why Canada or USA are NOT part of third world.

  7. #7
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    Rampant Corruption on such a scale produces incompetence, AND it places incompetent people into Authority. The dilemma of every third world country. And Pakistan or India or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan are no different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorblind Genius View Post
    Rampant Corruption on such a scale produces incompetence, AND it places incompetent people into Authority. The dilemma of every third world country. And Pakistan or India or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan are no different.
    Yes being in a first world country does give one a different perspective. However, we have to realize that the first world countries are far from perfect. I think wherever we are we need to realize that we have to be aware of the good and bad in our society and strive to improve things as best we can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Interesting read.

    Pakistan cricket has been and always will be chaos, brilliance and absolute rubbish. You just never know what to expect from them on any given day.

    Hope to see you posting on PakPassion on a more regular basis.
    Thank you. Much appreciated. I hope my next post will be a lot more positive. May both Pakistan and its cricket team achieve success.

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    Good posting @Veteran.

    Please share your thoughts more often if you can.

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    Beautiful and heartfelt post from a senior. I find it amazing as to how you own Pakistan team as your own despite not living in Pakistan that much. Loved reading it.

    And yes, I would agree with you on the fact as to how the protocol and contacts culture has destroyed and maligned the whole system of the country. It is one of the more serious problems we face in our daily life.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veteran View Post
    Yes being in a first world country does give one a different perspective. However, we have to realize that the first world countries are far from perfect. I think wherever we are we need to realize that we have to be aware of the good and bad in our society and strive to improve things as best we can.
    Perhaps somewhere lies a very tough solution to this problem of a third world country like Pakistan.

    A friend of mine, after living a few years in USA, went back home, and convinced his father that, lets start sweeping and cleaning our trash loaded street every morning. And hope that people will learn from us and it's going to catch on, and it will spread to the entire "mohallah" and then community and then perhaps the city.

    The elderly father in his late 70's resisted but since this was the only kid he had, agreed to do so.

    My friend, Subhash and his wife, were at our place a couple of years ago, and while our kids played together, said that every single morning of those 7 days, the by passing neighbors simply laughed at us while me and my father tried to clean up our trash loaded street with a broom and collected the junk in a bag - till my father finally gave up.

    He said, in this age, it's too much to tolerate to get laughed at by the people whom I know for years and have to live with them after you will leave back to United States.


    The problem is: our people simply do not want to change.

  13. #13
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    Well, time is looking more gloomy as we are on the bring of political change with kind of Shahbaz, mulana fazalrehman and bilawal coming to power soon , all choors together. Now only god can save us...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyRabbit View Post
    Beautiful and heartfelt post from a senior. I find it amazing as to how you own Pakistan team as your own despite not living in Pakistan that much. Loved reading it.

    And yes, I would agree with you on the fact as to how the protocol and contacts culture has destroyed and maligned the whole system of the country. It is one of the more serious problems we face in our daily life.
    Thank you. Well I lived in what was Pakistan for the first 25 years of my life. Good to see today's awesome result.

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    Great result today. Why we remain fans of Pakistan cricket. There is agony but also ecstasy. Babar and Imam really batted well. Good to see Khushdil make an impact. Thanks to all for your thoughtful comments. We can hope that eventually things will turn around for the better not just for the cricket team but also the country that remains dear to us.

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