When Pakistan chose lime green as their kit colour, as a tribute to the 1992 World Cup winning side, and chose to build this iteration as a return to the land of past glory, many felt they were being overly optimistic in their outlook. Most critics agreed that this was the weakest world cup side ever fielded by Pakistan, one that was made weaker still by injuries to Mohammed Hafeez and Junaid Khan. Yet no one predicted a collapse as spectacular as the one team Pakistan pulled off in their last two matches; losing to India by 76 runs and imploding against West Indies to lose by a margin of 150. The failures have punctured the pre-tournament facade and revealed the underlying mismanagement, rifts, power politics and controversies; all that can be laid at the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) doorstep.

Firstly, the continued inclusion of Younis Khan into the squad is baffling; he has been a stalwart of Pakistani cricket, that is undeniable, but his recent ODI form and his natural playing style do not merit a spot in the squad. He seems to be riding the wave of pressure his outburst against his initial exclusion from the Test series against Australia generated, and maybe the favour of a few friends he has created in the board over the years. He is keeping players like Sarfaraz Ahmed and Fawad Alam out of the squad, who have performed much more consistently in the past year.

This undue emphasis on retaining experienced players despite better options being available generates complacency in the team; with players slacking off in training, knowing their spot is secure. The hastily covered up spat between the management and the fielding coach Grant Luden concerned a lax attitude by players, reportedly relatively established players such as Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shahzad and Umar Akmal. Even discounting such reports it is hard to miss the defeatist and unmotivated outlook betrayed by the team’s body language. Weaker teams, such as Ireland are taking on traditional favourites and scathingly regarding people calling them ‘underdogs’ and the results ‘upsets’. Our team lacks any such spirit, or any belief whatsoever.

Usually this fault would be on the shoulders of the captain, but it seems Misbah is not the only one captaining the team at the moment. Reports of rifts between deferent individuals are abound, as are reports that Misbah is being increasingly sidelined when making key decisions. Waqar Younis, and Chief Selector Moin Khan, who for some odd reason is accompanying the team, are taking an overly hands-on in team activity, dividing the team into separate camps and robbing it of any unity. It would be a tragedy if our team is sunk by the resurgence of the old Afridi-Misbah schism. Team Pakistan is in damage control mode; cancelling all media activity and holding separate training sessions, but it already seems too late.