We are the Champions but all is not well!
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Jovaria Naseem |

Pakistan’s sensational win against India on 18th June 2017 re-wrote history! It took 25 years for Pakistan to break the jinx at ICC main events. It left many spellbound, awed, and inspired. Some nervous and some brimming with tears. This win will be one of the most celebrated wins in the history of Pakistan.

It is essential that cricket authorities in Pakistan implement structural and managerial changes, bring financial transparency, emphasize on merit based selection, and revamp domestic cricket.

Mohammad Amir’s story is that of a superstar’s redemption. Fakhar Zaman’s story is that of the hero who rode on luck, Fahim Ashraf’s tale is that of a man destined to make it big and Sarfaraz’s saga is from anonymity to fame and fortune. It is a story of eleven Pakistanis bringing joy to 188 million Pakistanis.

This, however, does not imply that all’s well in the paradise. There are serious, pressing issues that need to be resolved. It is essential that cricket authorities in Pakistan implement structural and managerial changes, bring financial transparency, emphasize on merit based selection, and revamp domestic cricket. Meritocracy in Pakistan Cricket is need of the hour.

A change is needed

Change has to begin from the top. Pakistan Cricket Board’s Chairman Selection needs to be de-politicized. Patron-in-chief has to go.

Selection committee needs to be visionary, diverse and must represent all provinces of Pakistan. One vote per province. The selection process for any tour must be carried out in consultation with the captain of the team.

Read more: What a time it is to be a Pakistan cricket fan!

Domestic cricket structure demands a massive overhaul. It has to begin with pitches of National Stadiums across Pakistan. Slow, low bounce, dusty, and dead pitches have to give way to either green tops, fast, and bouncy pitches or sporting wickets. At least one of the main stadium pitch has to model on WACA pitch of Australia.

Domestic cricket can be emulated after European Football Club League System. This will cause a revival of domestic cricket and will ensure an upsurge in viewership.

Annual inter-school and inter-college cricket tournaments must be held under PCB umbrella. Consistent top performers from these contests can be selected in first class tournaments and can play under 19s. Pakistan Cricket Board ought to nurture talent at grass root level.

Domestic cricket can be emulated after European Football Club League System. This will cause a revival of domestic cricket and will ensure an upsurge in viewership.

It is vital for Pakistan to produce fast bowlers in the leagues of Fazal Mahmood, Waqar, Wasim, Shoaib Akhtar, and Imran Khan. 2009 onward, Pakistan has relied heavily on spinners. Fast bowling is an art that is fast fading from the cricketing arena. Pakistan is the flag-bearer unless it decides to nurture and condition the demise of the art is imminent especially in Pakistani Cricket.

Read more: Fearlessness is the attribute Pakistani cricket team needs right now

Equally essential to foster all-rounders akin to Abdur Razzaq and Azhar Mehmood. Since the departure of Saeed Anwar & Aamir Sohail as openers, Pakistan has struggled to find a consistent opening pair. Fakhar Zaman, the new bloke on the bloc is a welcome addition. However, he has a long way to go and requires a partner with whom he can build partnerships in tandem.

Holding trials at National Academy does not necessarily produce results. To find players of a certain caliber, captain, selectors, and management must go on a nationwide hunt in every nook and corner of the country.

No lasting victory can come from a defensive mindset. To keep winning on regular basis: passion, aggression, desire are a pre-requisites.

One of the most important but often ignored aspects of cricket is the mindset. Pakistan needs to come out of defensive mode, that crept in the last decade or so. Pakistan cricket is known for flamboyance, flair. Any modification is guaranteed to have severe repercussions. Pakistan, for the first time in their cricketing history, were on the verge of not qualifying for Champions Trophy. They hit number 8 spot on ICC cricket ranking.

No lasting victory can come from a defensive mindset. To keep winning on regular basis: passion, aggression, desire are a pre-requisites.

Read more: The power of belief behind Pakistan’s triumphant victory!

A captain is largely responsible for success or failure of a team in cricket, while in football it is the coach. Finding a visionary captain especially in ODIs has been difficult for Pakistan. It is captain’s job to determine field strategy, create flexibility in batting, read pitch and weather conditions accurately, and maintain discipline on and off the field. Pakistan was lucky to have found the likes of Imran Khan who spotted talent like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed etc. and thus had a formidable team and enviable bench strength.

Pakistan’s success has come from decisive and aggressive men like Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Mushtaq Muhammad, Imran Khan or Wasim Akram. So selecting a team should be a captain’s prerogative. Frequent chopping and replacing of new players lowers their morale. Talented players like Ehsan Adil, Zulqarnain Haider, Zulfiqar Babar, Umer Amin, Fawad Alam lose their shine in this detrimental process. Whilst, non-performers continue to play with almost free will in the team.

With the advent of T-20, teams are scoring 350s and some have even tried to chase 400s. Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to play 90’s style cricket. Their win recipe is to put a score on the board first & bowl the opposition out. And it works 75% to 85% of the times; as soon as Pakistan is asked to chase a target, the situation reverses. Chasing a target often leaves Pakistan in an uncomfortable spot.

Maintaining discipline on the field and off the field at all times is of paramount importance. No player is bigger than the game. Any medicine recommended by any doctor to a player must be approved by PCB and management.

Mental strength and physical fitness is an area of concern for Pakistanis. Most players fail to meet the minimum required fitness level. Although, there are no immediate remedial steps in developing it. The monthly point system can prove to be an effective way. Any player who fails to meet the minimum standard should sit out for any upcoming series. This might gradually force players to pay importance to their fitness.

Read more: Who will clinch the cup: consistent India or unpredictable Pakistan?

Teams like South Africa, Australia and India have strong fitness culture. Hence, less number of injuries in key matches and better results.

Maintaining discipline on the field and off the field at all times is of paramount importance. No player is bigger than the game. Any medicine recommended by any doctor to a player must be approved by PCB and management. Zero tolerance policy must be implemented against corruption irrespective of who is involved in it. Punishing match fixers and spot fixers is not enough. Board must move to include in resolution: banning and freezing assets of those who arm-twist players into match fixing and spot fixing.
Consistency is key to success in any field. If Pakistan is to remain a cricketing force to reckon with, they will have to deliver frequently.

Jovaria Naseem is a blogger and freelance writer. She writes at Insaf blogs. She has written movie reviews for various websites, articles on culture, and sports, primarily cricket-based articles in the past. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Jovaria Naseem is a blogger and freelance writer. She writes at Insaf blogs. She has written movie reviews for various websites, articles on culture, and sports, primarily cricket-based articles in the past.

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