Any analyst or critic would agree with Shoaib Akhtar when he said that ‘what ails Pakistan ails cricket’. Our poor World Cup performance is a reflection of bad governance and mismanagement at large.

Since 1971, organisational structures have been encroached on by personalities, cults, self-interests, greed and power. Nepotism, jobbery, exploitation and gerrymandering for influential groups have taken a toll on the country’s constitution, political parties, governmental bodies and sports organisations. The culture of political bribery and gratification has promoted the insertion of handpicked goons to disrupt organisational behaviour, ethics and performance. Two very strong fighters, by sheer force of personality in the absence of organisational structures made Pakistan the world’s cricket champion in 1992.Pakistan is dominated by personalities and individual whims rather than a system based on ethical behaviour.

It is evident that cricket in Pakistan passed into the hands of individuals with doubtful credentials after 1992. Even in 1992, some individuals stood like a barrier against self-interest but cricket has never recovered from the perennial rows. Intrigues in the cricket associations, deliberately planted fault lines within teams and poor on field management. The miracles of 1992 cannot be expected too often.

World Cup 1992 will be best remembered for the bright purple patch Pakistan hit in the Round Robin match against Australia to successively defeat Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In the first five matches Pakistan only won a match against Zimbabwe and managed to scrape a point during a losing match against England due to rain. Rejuvenated, Pakistan won three successive matches against Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. An Australian win put West Indies out of contention and Pakistan edged passed Australia on a better run-rate to qualify for the semi-finals. Power hitting by a sick Inzamamul Haq against New Zealand took Pakistan to the finals. In the finals it was an all-round performance led by a physically unfit captain and vice-captain. In the last two matches the trio of Imran, Miandad and Inzamam were on medication, but played with sheer dedication and won the cup. Come 2015, there are no Imran Khan and Miandad and hitters lack the class, technique and composure of Inzamam

In the 1996 World Cup Waseem Akram, the captain, mysteriously sat out the quarterfinals while Waqar Younis conceded 40 runs in his last two overs to Ajay Jajeda. What followed were allegations of match fixing.

Pakistan had the best ever team in 1999 led by Wasim Akram. They conceded an easy victory to Bangladesh and played timidly against Australia in the finals. With the likes of Salim Malik, Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmad, Muhammad Yousaf, Inzamam and the hard hitting Razzaq, Afridi and Moin Khan, this timidity still remains a mystery.

In 2003 in South Africa, Pakistan led by Waqar Younis was eliminated in the group stage. Chairman PCB revamped the entire structure to remake a new team with Rameez, Amer Sohail and Rashid Latif at the helm, only to be forced into a resignation. The vultures returned.

In 2007, apart from the mysterious death of Bob Woolmer there is not much to mention. Pakistan captained by Inzamam, was eliminated in the group stage.

In 2011, even before the match began, there were rumours that Pakistan would deliberately lose to India in the semi-finals. Corporate cricket was at its peak. A contentious LBW not out against Tendulkar and slow batting by Misbah sealed the fate of this match. The coach was Waqar Younis.

Ultimately, Saleem Malik, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmad, Inzamam, Ata ur Rahman and Saeed Anwar were found guilty of varying degrees of complicity. But despite this cautious commission report, these names keep figuring as players, captains or management in Pakistan’s defeat in 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. History will repeat itself.

The victory in 1992 remains a case study in which an unfit Imran Khan (brought out of retirement)teamed with an unfit vice-captain Javed Miandad forged a team of small names into a world winning combination. It is amazing that this synergy was achieved in the course of the tournament. Pakistan was short of bowlers and inconspicuous names like Iqbal Sikander and Waseem Haider were drafted. Imran Khan accomplished a mission initially deemed lost to extract the best by the sheer weight of personality, leadership skills, self-example and astute use of limited resources. Had the notions of the present tour selection committee been in play, three crucial players who carved out the victories in the semi-finals and finals would never have made it into the team. They were Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Inzamam ulHaq.

Misbah is no Imran Khan. He is a laidback captain who squanders more opportunities than he can create. His technique forbids him to change gears from grafting to big hitting. He has rivals within the team for captaincy. He is at odds with the support staff. So far Younis Khan has failed to play the role of Miandad. Master blasters like Ahmad Shazad and Afridi have heads bigger than their game. The Chief Selector himself was spotted red-handed in aharem of gamblers, though I am convinced that at worst he was a mere foot soldier.

But then hopes can be kept alive. Who knows Misbah breaks out of his shell in the next four games? Younis Khan reinvents himself into a Miandad, Rahat Ai becomes an Aqib Javed and wildcards like Harris, Shoaib Maqsood and Yasir Shah emerge as cricketers of the future. Some say cricket is a game of chance; others say it is a gamble. I think it is fate.