ISLAMABAD - M Hafeez and company disappointed millions of Pakistanis who prayed day and night for the success of their team as overconfident Hafeez gifted victory to Sri Lankans in the T20 World Cup semi-final. This was the second time in a row when Pakistan lost in World T20 semi-final.
Pakistan started the campaign as one of the strong favourites to clinch the coveted trophy for the second time. They played exceptionally well in the first warm up match against India where they managed to chase down a daunting 186 runs target. Thanks to Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal, but that was the only convincing victory so far for the green shirts as they failed to chase a relatively small target of 112 runs against England in the second and last warm-up match.
When the real action started, Pakistan narrowly beat New Zealand and then managed to defeat Bengal Tigers to enter the Super Eight, where they wer uo against South Africa, India and Australia were waiting for them.
Thanks to Umar Gul and Umar Akmal, Pakistan edged out South Africa by two wickets to much of the relief of millions of fan. Pakistan should have won that particular match against South Africa with utmost ease and comfort as they had the likes of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Akmal brother, Shoaib Mailk, Shahid Afridi and Hafeez in their ranks but to the much of surprise, Pakistan players lived up to their reputation of winning matches going harder way. This match should have been taken as eye-opener not only by captain Hafeez but also by the entire management and they should have immediately made at least two changes in the playing XI.
The captain and the management should have shown the doors to Afridi by Nazir and replacing them with Razzaq and Raza Hassan. But Hafeez had other ideas as he was fling over the moon and was not ready to listen to anyone as in his opinion. It was because of his overcautious approach and wasting of too many deliveries which put pressure on Imran Nazir and batsmen to follow. He wasted too many deliveries without scoring runs and lost his wicket in the middle of the innings which kept the pressure on the entire team.
Hafeez kept on bowling the first over and opening the innings despite strong suggestions from the former greats that he should come down the order and opt to open the innings with Jamshed and Imran Nazir, as the left and right hand combination could prove to be disturbing for the bowlers and provide much-needed depth in the batting but all the suggestions fell on deaf ears as the skipper was not ready to bat down the order.
The main reason behind batsmen failure, apart from their own mistakes, was that they were not utilised accordingly. Kamran, Jamshed, Malik and Umar Akmal could have done far better had they were used accordingly. Same was the case with fast bowling as Gul instead of using the new ball was called at the brink. How could one expect miracles and immediate response from him when he was hardly given any time to settle down? Razzaq should be the automatic selection in any top side of the world but here in Pakistan, one need to be the blue-eyed person of the captain, the team management or PCB rather having great abilities. Had Razzaq played the entire event Pakistan should have won the matches with utmost ease and comfort and he is more than handy with the ball too as he had shown in the past as well. How could Hafeez forget the recent heroics of Razzaq against Australia series in the UAE where it was because of his magical over which forced the super over ultimately resulting in Pakistan’s success. Razzaq is still a match winner but unfortunately he was not utilised properly by any captain till date.
Afridi should be shown the door after the 2011 World Cup, as he failed miserably both with leather and willow but he managed to retain his spot just because of a powerful lobby and being the favourite of current PCB chief Zaka Ashraf, who in his short tenure has wasted millions of precious money of the board on foreign tours and foreign coaches. What was the purpose of bringing in Dave Whatmore and Julian Fountain, as the team is giving same results. The huge amount of money given to these gentlemen could have been saved if PCB boss opted for a local coach. Pakistan had produced so many greats in their history and they could have given far better results.
After the induction of Fountain and bowling coach M Akram, things had gone bad to worst for Pakistan. They were never known for their fielding and holding of catches. The same history is repeated and to make things even worse Akram was appointed as bowling coach just to appease a high profile personality. He is getting around Rs 700,000 every month and doing nothing. Just sitting with the players on the bench and clapping or hugging the players is not enough or justified such a hefty amount of money.
The PCB officials are spending millions of rupees on foreign tours and living lavish lives on public money. This money is paid from the public pocket not from chairman's own pocket. If he intends to keep on doing things of his personnel likings then he must bear all the expenses from his own pocket.
Pakistanis reserve the right to seek explanation from the PCB and especially from the chairman. Performances like these are by no way acceptable to them, for how long Pakistan cricket team need prayers of the nation to achieve victories. The time is ripe when they have to perform or face the music. PCB high commands have to answer the questions of masses. Hafeez is the most coward skipper in the history of Pakistan, his wrong decisions had cost the team and the nation dearly, now is the time PCB must make bold decisions and appoint a captain who knows how to lead from the front, instead implementing the one man show.