What will it take to forget about Champions Trophy win in 2017 and focus on causes which have bogged our national cricket team with series of embarrassing losses? The 3-0 ODI defeat by New Zealand this year should have awakened us to ground realities.

Perhaps our national hunger for good news made us go overboard in showering laurels on cricketers post Champions Trophy win. After all, cricket is just a game and winning or losing is part of game. As long as we lose with grace and putting up a fight, rather than giving up as we did on 23 September playing against India.

In One Day Cricket, performance in fielding and catching is as important as batting and bowling. Coach and Captain must be involved in planning strategy before start of game, by studying weaknesses and strength of rival teams batsman and bowlers, rather than shouting advices during match in a language which rival team is familiar with. Discipline should be enforced during tours and players must adhere to curfew imposed on activities off the field at least 36 hours before next game. Captain Sarfraz must perform with bat and focus on devising strategy before game or during over-change and drinks interval. He has lost his spark.

The team management should revive visible loss in confidence of star batsman Fakhr Zaman and others who are not performing well with bat and poor fielding. Bowlers need to retain element of surprise, exploiting weaknesses of batsman. Amir Khan seems to have lost his line and capacity to deliver yorkers on pitches in UAE which are otherwise not favorable for fast bowlers. Shaheen Afridi is a good find, but fielders missing his catches would only frustrate him.


Lahore, September 24.