Pakistan’s World Cup journey came to an end on Friday after it registered a convincing win against Bangladesh, but did not have the required net run rate to overtake New Zealand with whom it was equal on points. Realistically the campaign had ended even before the match started, with Pakistan requiring a miraculous, record breaking performance to stand a chance of qualifying.

Having come so close to qualifying, the team will certainly feel disappointed, but will also take confidence in the way it rallied after initial setbacks. There is much to unpack here; this campaign has ample material for both pessimists and optimists.

Pakistan’s favorite moniker of the “unpredictables” held true for another tournament - atrocious performances against weaker teams combined with emphatic victories over some of the favorites. While this certainly makes for entertaining cricket this glamorous tag masks what is plain for the rest to see; the team, the camp, and the management is chaotic and ad-hoc; the team lacks discipline and n explicit playing philosophy, relying mostly on passionate performances and moments of individual brilliance. As a result the team is very susceptible to nerves and pressure, which explains the wild swings in its performance.

As much as Pakistani fans relish the mystique of being the unpredictables, it is time to shed it and embrace order.

The sport has evolved– uncompromising hard-working athletes have superseded the age of flamboyant personalities and gifted enthusiasts. The fact that basic physical fitness is still an issue in a modern national sports team goes to show how much the culture in Pakistan needs to be changed. Fielding – directly related to athleticism and fitness – is Pakistan’s weakest suit, and it ranks as one of the worst fielding sides in the sport today.

The management too has to change. While cricket boards in countries like India, Australia and New Zealand have become corporate behemoths run on the stark principles of merit, profit and efficiency, Pakistan still shoulders the burden of a bloated bumbling board, more akin to a government department with all its bureaucratic lethargy. Its members are locked in a power struggle, politicking and scheming as we speak. No surprise that the proposed revamp of the domestic cricket structure lies in doldrums; little can be expected from them.

But it is not all doom and gloom; the current squad as a crop of young talent that has its heart and mind in the right place. Pakistan produces cricketing talent in droves, but these diamonds in the rough have been sullied by an incompetent jeweler.