It is unfortunate that Pakistan cricket team’s performance in the first two Tests against South Africa touched the lowest ebb. Being a matter of great concern the situation needs to be evaluated immediately and steps should be taken to raise the standards of our team. Despite a century each by Younus Khan and Asad Shafiq plus a wonderful match haul of ten wickets by Saeed Ajmal we lost the 2nd Test against South Africa. The 1st Test had already fallen into the lap of the hosts when our team collapsed for a record low total of 47 runs in the 1st innings.

We thus handed over the Test series to South Africa on a plate because of our players’ ignorance about the effects of pitches and weather on the game. The responsibility for this lapse falls on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for not apprising the team of the situation and the coach for not training the players on how to tackle movement of the fast and outgoing balls to which most of our batsmen became prey. The chairman PCB has already admitted that the team did not have enough time to prepare for the tour. Why was a proper plan not chalked out and the boys given enough practice to face the top team of the world?

It was shameful to watch the members of a national team unable to face the fast bowling of the hosts and throwing away wickets one after the other by offering catches mostly behind the stumps or in the slips. The batsmen fell into a defensive groove as if playing shots was forbidden. Those who attempted so played the shots with the stumps fully exposed, were bowled clean. These are the faults which fall in the domain of the honorable foreign coach who draws a handsome salary but has failed to impart even the basic lessons to our batsmen. The performance of our batting line in the two Tests made our team look like a club side. Also how amusing it is to know that, to ward off the crisis faced by the team the team management offered ‘sadqa’ by sacrificing a goat and distributing its meat among the Muslim community. If the religion played an effective part in cricket, the half a dozen bearded players that Pakistan has would have raised the team to the top of world ranking.

RAFI NASIM,

Lahore, February 20.