ISLAMABAD- Pakistan cricket team’s disgraceful defeat in the second Test at the hands of minnows Zimbabwe cricket team by 24 runs made it the darkest day in the cricket history of the country.
With this defeat, Pakistan now fell to sixth from fourth in the ICC Test rankings. Although it was not for the first time that Zimbabwe had managed to beat green shirts because they had the likes of Flower brothers, Heath Streak, Alastair Campbell and other world class players in the past, but this time, though they didn’t have big stars in their ranks, yet they still managed to outclass one of the cricket's superpowers.
Zimbabwean team looked pretty mature since the arrival of Grant Flower as he had done wonders for the team. His proper planning and work on each and every Pakistani player helped the hosts to outclass the Pakistan team not only in the second Test but in all the departments. Everyone can see the high performance of struggling Zimbabweans right from the T20s to Test matches, but on the other hand, Pakistan coach Dave Whatmore had done nothing rather destroyed the team on the whole. There was no clear planning witnessed ever since he was made the national team coach. Despite getting huge amounts on monthly basis, the coach completely failed in transforming the fast-declining fortunes of the team as such mixed results could easily be achieved through a local coach then what is purpose behind keeping faith in Whatmore.
Pakistan batting flopped miserably in the entire series except Younus Khan and skipper Misbah who showed their class and resistance against the Zimbabwean bowlers. Khurrum Manzoor did managed to score two half centuries in the match but the way he threw away his wickets in both the innings and got run outs cannot not be expected from a Test player which shows he does not deserve to be in Test squad.
M Hafeez was totally flopped during the second Test and deserves no place in the Test squad. He failed to collect total 100 runs in the last fives Test matches and 10 innings. He is the skipper of the Twenty20 side, but he doesn't have the basic technique of using his front foot which cost him dearly against the ordinary bowling of the medium pacers of the host nations. Expecting miracles from him against the likes of South Africa is like seeing day dreams.
Asad Shaifuqe, Azhar Ali were also big flops against not more than average Zimbabwean bowling. Adnan Akmal failed to grab the opportunity, as his keeping was not more than ordinary and his batting was also a big disappointment.
Instead of giving chance after chance to same players, the selectors should have kept faith in the talented left handed batsman Umar Amin, who was in tremendous form against the same opponents. The inside sources have confirmed to this scribe that Whatmore wanted Umar Amin to stay with the team, but Moin Khan opposed the idea strongly. Had Amin stayed, he could have provided the much-needed depth in the middle order and he had the extra edge being the left-handed batsmen which could have disturbed the bowlers, but this could have spoiled Moin's ambition of keeping faith in Mr flopped Asad Shaifque.
Now the time is high to give chances to young and deserving players as this series has clearly shown the flaws and weaknesses of the Pakistan players. Pakistan lacks depth in the middle and especially in the later order as there is not a single player in the entire team who can bat well and provide some stability after No 6.
Every player must earn their places in the playing XI rather than taking things for granted. There should be no place on offer for blue-eyed persons rather the only criteria should be the performance not past records. Past means nothing, as cricket is a day-to-day affair.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PBC) has already wasted precious time on Whatmore and company but the time is ripe when he should be shown the door and replaced by a local coach who may transform the team. Time is very short and Proteas are waiting in the wings and after that Sri Lankans are roaring to take full advantage from the green shirts’ slump.
If things continue in same way, there is every possibility Pakistan is bound to suffer further miseries at the hands of South African's who are the No 1 ranked Test team in the world and then Sri Lankans so the ball is now in the PCB’s court, only the time will tell, how much they care for the national team.