Decline of Pakistan Cricket

By Obaid ur Rehman.

World T20 2016 Battles have finally come to an end and West Indies are the World Champions now for the second time. We have witnessed an amazing world cup this year too where the tournament’s favorite’s couldn’t win the hearts of their nations. Pakistani fans were also expecting at least some good results from their unpredictable team, but unfortunately Pakistan, under the leadership of Shahid Khan Afridi could only manage to win one single game, that too against Bangladesh and has shown very disappointing performance in the Round Robin matches against India, New Zealand and Australia. Pakistan wasn’t able enough to give them tough time in the field and came back home after an early-exit from the tournament. After the tournament ended for Pakistan, its recent performances in Asia Cup and World T20 have raised serious concerns and question marks on team’s discipline, role of coaching staff, unity of team, physical fitness of players and even on selection committee as well. Everyone, including sports analysts, journalists, politicians and public, is chanting against the management and players of Pakistan Cricket Team for their performance in recent tournaments and demanding about the reforms and structural changes in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from upper to lower levels.

Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Amir

Pakistan lost its important match from arch rival India in T20 World Cup.

There are a lot of flaws and internal problems in board and management due to which players on international level face difficulties while performing. Although physical fitness and positive attitude matters a lot, but the main concern is about infrastructure through which players come up and get a chance to play for country in green shirts. Infrastructure of Pakistan’s cricket is really not up to the mark and there are a lot of problems in it. Problems in infrastructure are the actual reasons that our players get fail to perform on international level. In the last ten years, Pakistan Cricket has seen a massive downfall and decline in terms of performance and rankings as well. There are multiple factors which are directly related to the downfall and decline of Pakistan’s Cricket. One of them is the fact that our cricket is run by those who haven’t played a single international game in their career and they become either the Chairman or a member of Governing Board of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). When such people would have the authority to run the system then it’s for sure that they would lack the cricketing sense and won’t be able to make such kind of decisions through which players can compete on international level in today’s era of modern cricket. Another reason of the downfall of our Cricket is the involvement of politics in the infrastructure of Pakistan Cricket. Somehow players get selected in the squad on the basis of favourtism or some kind of political pressure on the Selection Committee, which is absolutely ridiculous and strict action should be taken against such kind of activities within the board. Another major contributing reason for the decline which cannot be denied is players’ politics within the team. Players within the team get involved in playing political point scoring to prove their power or to let down some other players. It’s the bitter truth that Pakistan Cricket Team has always been a victim of player-power and players’ politics, especially in the last three decades, which has always let down the morality and sportsmanship and, at the end, made Pakistan Cricket to suffer a lot. Therefore overall politics in Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Cricket Team has turned out to be against the favours of Pakistan Cricket ultimately.

Another sad reality of downfall of Pakistan Cricket is absence of International Cricket from Pakistan’s soil. Since the attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team in March 2009 in Lahore, doors of International Cricket in Pakistan have been shut down by International Cricket Council. It has played another major contributing role in disturbing the infrastructure of cricket in Pakistan because without international cricket, players do not get proper exposure of playing cricket and thus cracks start appearing in the development programs. Chairman PCB Shehryar Khan in his second reign took impressive steps in bringing International Cricket back in Pakistan which finally resulted in the arrival of Zimbabwean Cricket Team in Lahore, in May 2015 to play 3 ODI and 3 T20 Matches after assurance of complete security measures. Yet until or unless overall security situation does not get better in the country, it is yet hard to say that any other Test playing nation will visit Pakistan in near future. “No International Cricket” in Pakistan has proved to be a dilemma for Pakistan Cricket and has affected it badly. Another reason which we have been talking about for a long time is the poor and insufficient investment in Domestic and Club Cricket. This is the main area where we lack a lot because without investment and without proper sponsorships, we cannot ever produce quality players who can compete at international level. The monthly wages and per match fees of players are extremely below the basic level and somehow players do not find the enough reasons to play with motivation and dedication. Apart from that, coaching staff at domestic level is also not qualified and coaches, trainers and physicians don’t even get enough packages. Along with these factors and realities, it obviously becomes very difficult for kids and players to come towards cricket and show their talent because there seems to be no scope even at domestic level to get your talent polished and find an opportunity to play International cricket wearing green shirts and having green caps even if you are on merit.

These are the problems due to which Pakistan Cricket is on constant decline and we should not expect a sudden change in the results before the permanent and positive changes in the whole infrastructure of cricket board. There was a time once when Pakistan was the team of champions and our opponents were scared of playing against us but the situation has got reversed and now it has become difficult for us to beat the low ranked teams. There is no doubt the land of Pakistan is full of talented players. All we need is to polish our talent through a proper platform and bring it in front so that we can revive our long lost cricket status once again and it can happen only if PCB is being governed with honesty. Patron in Chief of PCB, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Shareef has to take serious and bold measures for the revival of Pakistan Cricket. He should bring those people in the board to govern and handle the board matters who have served Pakistan’s cricket in purely right directions. People in Pakistan love cricket and consider the game as a pride of this nation. They are waiting desperately for the golden era of Pakistan Cricket to return and are hoping that one day World Cup Trophy will come back to Pakistan’s Soil again.

The writer is Islamabad based Journalist & Research Analyst.

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