One of the most anticipated matches in sports; the greatest rivalry in cricket; Pakistan versus India; took place on Sunday, and for Pakistani fans the day ended in heartbreak. We witnessed a one-sided affair – like many of the recent match-ups between the two – leading many to question that given the obvious gulf between the quality of the two sides is it fair to even term this contest a rivalry anymore. While victory and defeat are an inescapable part of the game and many would point to the drubbing meted out to India in the Champions Trophy final two years ago to maintain that the sides are competitive, the numbers tell a different story.

Pakistan’s form leading into the World Cup has been abysmal as has been the campaign itself. Once again it is not the win-loss ratio that is point of concern. Player development has plateaued, team fitness has plummeted, player selection remains as chaotic as ever, and reports have emerged of factionalism in the squad. Skill, luck and the vagaries of sport can always upset the best of plans, but Pakistan’s cricket squad seems to be operating without any plan at the moment.

More than the players, the problem lies with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). With the board embroiled in mutinies and power plays among its board members it is difficult to see them paying the sport the attention it needs. At the sporting level, there is no greater indicator of mismanagement than the fact that the squad was not finalized right uphill the World Cup itself, and two of the main performers – Muhammed Amir and Wahab Riaz – were not even included in the initial squad list. The team’s fitness, another strong indicator of the discipline and culture that pervades the management, is woeful to say the least.

When the pregame pep-talk by the coach is painting visions of one-off heroics and legendary flukes rather than talking about a confident game plan and a belief in one’s own ability – you know something is terribly wrong.