The argument that Pakistan’s low ODI ranking (9th) is due to the lack of international cricket within Pakistan since the year 2009, does not hold water. The reason for this is, at the same time, without international cricket in the country, Pakistan was able to secure the first position in Test rankings. 

In my humble opinion, the factual reasons as to why our cricket team has shown poor performance in the ODIs, are as follows. We do not make use of the power plays. With fielders jammed inside the fielding ring, and an open outfield, teams naturally tend to practice power-hitting during these overs. But not Pakistan. If we lose a wicket early on in the game, our team panics and switches to defensive mode. ODIs do not work like that, you either win or lose, and there is no point in going defensive if you are not going to set a decent target for the opponent. 

Pakistani batsmen are not too concerned about playing dot balls. In a match of 50 overs, only 300 balls are available. In our match against India in the 2015 World Cup, we played 169 dot balls and lost the match by 75 runs. A solution to this situation is that we must keep rotating the strike; going for singles and doubles. If the team cannot find boundaries, they must run. 

Our breed of bowlers, which used to ignite fear in the minds of batsmen, has experienced a decline. The quality and technique of bowlers has fallen considerably. Fast bowlers no longer bowl effective yorkers or bouncers. The spinners no longer practice wicket to wicket bowling, which leads to a lack of wickets taken. In ODI and T20 matches, wicket to wicket bowling pays higher dividends because batsmen are always lifting their bats looking for big hits. Our bowlers also lack the discipline required to not give away any extras. 

The amount of misfielding and dropped catches is also a big concern. It not only brings down the morale of the team but also contributes to one’s loss. It is an unwritten rule among world class teams that no player is considered for selection if his fielding is not up to the mark. In our team, we have a collection of poor fielders. 

SYED NAYYAR UDDIN AHMAD, 

Lahore, September 27.