Apr 02 - 08, 2007


The exit of both India and Pakistan from the 'Super Eight' eased the pain somewhat on both sides. In Pakistan, the word was 'So what. This is cricket. even India is out' and probably vice versa in India. That does not really explain the poor performance of both sides which was the most disappointing fact. Losing or winning is part of any competitive sports.


The Pakistan rot started way back in the last ICC championship in India. The 'holier than thou' management decided to announce the recall of the two star bowlers already with the team in India, Akhtar and Asif on charges of failed unilateral, repeat unilateral drug test. This probably lost them that particular series miserably, at the same time ridiculing the team and country worldwide. The Chairman, an erstwhile career diplomat known for his love of cricket and no more, resigned and a new one nominated with probably nothing more than being a lover of cricket and good connections.

The appeal court, subsequently, reversed the decision on Akhtar and Asif.

Come the World Cup, one of the most important duo (bowlers) in International Cricket are excluded, on alleged injury as an excuse. The world speculated that the real reason were that they would not pass the drug test should they be tested. Team and Country become a laughing stock internationally.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the real culprits are those that manage the affairs of the great game in Pakistan. They had four years to prepare for the World Cup and the matter of drugs inmost sports is and has been one of the norms of preparation. For the management not to have managed this issue during that period, trained and tested their players for this basic requirement is total derelict of duty. These are the guys to send to the 'gallows' and not the players.

The selection of the team, particularly in respect to the opening duo, is a nightmare. Those of the selectors who left out Imran Nazir.... not long after his century in West Indies years ago, and then expected him to come back after years and perform miracles. Salman Butt who scored a century in Australia... the list goes on and on. There seems a culture of 'musical chairs'. The openers would be opening with little confidence and fearing their quick exit more (if they don't perform), rather than concentrating on the attack they are facing. There is no wonder they are unable to perform. Surely Don Bradman would never have made it to the Pakistan Team with his double Ducks in his first game.

Few words on this elusive World Cup. There was certainly some aspect of bad luck and aspect of over confidence in the start up games. Had Younis Khan, a brilliant catcher, missed Sarwan in the West Indian game, the results may have been different. Surely the two best Pakistani players, Inzamam and Yousif, miscalculated their slow pace of 'settling down' again in their match with WI, leaving little possibilities for the rest to make up the score.

That left the match with Ireland, one of the 'Minnows'. They probably thought they could never lose this one.

Ireland were destined to win. Their win against Zimbabwe was one of pure luck on one hand and a very determined field performance and interaction between players, particularly between the wicket keeper and the bowler, as if their lives depended on winning. Providence provided the rest. A chance run-out, during the Zimbabwe game, with the ball hitting the wicket after a touch of bowlers hand, started the rout of Zimbabwe when they were on course to win. Then the Zimbabweans inability to score the winning run on the last ball said it all.

Come the Pakistan match:: Pakistan losing the toss began the tragedy. The wicket was probably the worst of any world cup matches. The opening pair.... less said about them the better. The top and middle order... there didn't seem to be a game plan considering the condition of the pitch. The collapse against a 'minnow' scoring some 130 runs... well... what can you say. But that is not all.

Then came the bowling performance and the body language on the field... The Captain played with his beard at every bad bowl bowled and runs scored. Little interaction! The wicket-keeper scowled, but did little else, at the bowling performance. Our 'star' bowler, and known for his line and length, was more keen to out perform his colleague on speed and bowled countless bumpers.. rather than simple L & L which would have done the job with the wicket doing the rest.

Of-course, the grit of the Irish on their ST Patrick's day completed their deserved 'destiny'.

And then the Pakistan Coach is found dead!! First speculation was that the shock of the proceedings was just too much for him as it was for 160 million Pakistanis. (The statistics of casualties in Pakistan and those that suffered heart attacks is missing so far.)

The sad event of Woolmers death shook the World of Cricket. It was a field day and continues to be, for the Media, particularly the British and the Indian. The British tried hard to nail down anyone they could find, from the Captain to the have-beens of Pakistan cricket. They even tried to nail Asif Iqbal on dubious past events of cricket corruption (match fixing). Not to forget the insinuation of the Captain and the Manager seen visiting the room of the late coach. But lets not dwell on that anymore as this story will go on and on, until someone real or imaginary is nailed!

But where does Pakistan go from here? Strangely, what happened may do Pakistan the world of good. A real wake-up call. It is time for the past but greying greats to come out and be counted. Imran Khan, instead of being the classic critic, should come out and offer his amazing experience, and todo more than TV interviews or articles in a newspaper.

For the problem of the opening pair, what about the past brilliant openers, someone like Saeed Anwer and Aamir Suhail to give their input. Waseem and Waqar, what are these guys doing not imposing their world renowned bowling experience to the team. No offence to Mushtaq Mohammed, the 'deputy coach'. He really should have said that there are better experienced than him who should be called on rather than him. Javed Miandad, just being in history books isn't enough.

The diplomats and Surgeons and others who are attracted with whatever they are attracted to, should defer to the greats and experienced. The top job should go to a 'brilliant manger' (Imran Khan maybe??). Someone should watch the London show 'The Apprentice' for some leads on management. Ramiz Raja and Aamir Suhail, should stand up and be counted. Just brilliant commenting is not enough at the moment.

The real tragedy would be if Pakistan did not take the advantage of their deserved 'loss' this time. The choice is between being a Super Eight, Final Four or a Minnow.

To whom it may concern.... Please make the right decisions and act on it.