|Player:||Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal|
|Event:||ICC World Cup 2014/15|
DateLine: 13th May 2015
Reviewing the Pakistan cricket team's recent showings, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) clearly needs to place much more emphasis on backing their players and in giving them confidence to rise to an occasion rather than discarding and dropping them just after one series failure. They also need to curb their staff from harping on players' attidude and discipline in public which rubs more salt into unhealed wounds.
The most promising youngsters of Pakistan cricket, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad were axed from the Pakistan team which recently toured Bangladesh who are 'fast becoming arch rivals'. The outcome of that series turned out to be horrible for Pakistan and was not less than a nightmare for them. Pakistan lost the One Day Internationals 3-0 as well losing the only T20.
PCB must rethink their policy of managing young players because the Nation has already invested a lot of time and money on them. Now that the time is ripe to get results they are not even the part of the team!
Board has asked questions and commented on the disciplinary activity of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shezad but are unaware of the fact that these guys are putting their 100% on the field. We still canít ignore the fact that these players are the future of Pakistan Cricket team and have already proved themselves within the limited opportunity they were given.
Pakistan lost two games at the start of their World Cup campaign against Team India and West Indies. The main cause of those defeats can be attributed to lack of awareness of the situation and conditions in Australia and New Zealand. India and South Africa were two semi-finalist other than the two hosts Australia and New Zealand.
Team India had been playing a Test series and Triangular series 'down-under' for more than two months prior to their World Cup campaign. So, they must have gained a few ideas about the conditions there and we also cannot ignore the fact the most of the pitches where India played their matches, were flat which suited their batsmen.
Now, we need to review the point about the player attitude whenever they come back in the team. In their recent innings they did not take time to settle in but started smacking from ball one. Even if the situation demanded acceleration in the scoring rate they should have 'got their eye in' for a while. But now, we canít imagine them doing that again after the lesson learned. Due to the kick they received and lack support of team management, they need to more than ever, first cement their place in the team before cutting loose. This case was evident when Ahmed Shehzad came back in the team for the only T20 match against Bangladesh. He never looked to up the scoring rate and got out in between run of play.
We have witnessed many of Pakistanís batsmen who score runs but not at a brisk enough rate to help win the matches. So, most of their runs end up being scored for a losing cause. I think Pakistan needs more players of Umar Akmal's calibre who can turn a game into his teamís favour single-handedly.
Batsmen having a good batting average but with low strike rates are useless to try and keep pace with the evolution taking place in the game of cricket. Improvisation in batting is the order of the day. Game has changed and in the past, batsmen needed time to get their eye in when they came out to bat but these days with the game getting shorter, there is not much time available to settle in and they have to start playing shots. So, if a day comes when their shots do not come off that is exactly the time players need backing and encouragement from the management not degrading or criticism. Management needs to convince the players to express themselves and not get depressed thinking about the outcomes if they not succeed.
For now at least, we can only hope for a proactive and forward-looking Board policy for the players which does not hurt players' confidence. That is the best way for PCB to positively enhance team spirit.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Rohit Ranjan)