Every cricket team experiences highs and lows, memorable triumphs against unfavourable odds and humiliating defeats that induce depression and rage amongst supporters. Team Pakistan has been covering the same cycle, and one can observe the mood swings afflicting the millions who love the game and hate losing at it. They wanted to replace the entire management, fire the coaching staff and kick out the players when the team lost all matches against Australia in the latest ODI series. Now, as the team has miraculously regained composure, and appears determined to beat Australia in the second test match having already won the first one rather convincingly, the fans are found praising and celebrating with the same passion and zeal that has come to define them. They hope that it lasts this time. The also realise that it never does. But they simply cannot stop expecting. It’s just not who they are.

But do the fans have to undergo such torture or are they being tested unfairly to an extent? While the sport owes a lot to the gift and talent of individuals, as demonstrated by Younis Khan during the ongoing series, cricket boards – the PCB in this case – contribute significantly to what we witness unfolding on the pitch. The ups and downs, as often as they come for team Pakistan, have their roots in the decisions taken by the management and the lack of effort put in establishing an infrastructure which has helped other cricketing nations to find some sort of consistency that escapes us. The musical chairs at the PCB throughout this year and before, is only one example of how poorly the game is managed. We don’t have an IPL or County cricket. Our first-class cricket set up isn’t up to the mark. Meritocracy over nepotism, established systems over substandard local set up, long-term investment and planning over make-shift arrangements and temporary fixes – these are the things which will help the team achieve its true potential and maybe one day enable it to lift the trophy once more.