Why Not Drop “Team Management” instead of Players?


Pakistan cricket, often termed as something which is not a bed of roses for some, but for others maybe it is (By other’s I mean PCB Officials and Team Management). World Cup ended on a low and no one from the Team management or from the PCB headquarters took the responsibility, and all of us knew that “Players” will bear the consequence. It was only Moin Khan, who was the chief selector then, who was sacked or being laid off from his duty, but due to the casino scandal. I am sure even he wouldn’t have been replaced if that scandal didn’t happen.

As a cricket follower, I failed to understand why always players are to be blamed for a poor performance in cricket? Especially in Pakistan. In soccer or other sports, coaches or managers are held responsible for the team’s performance, but in Cricket that’s not the case. It can never work this way in sports that you held players only accountable for a debacle by saying that “when you win, you get the credit too”. It’s an illogical analogy in the first place.

Every country has a sporting attributes that are directly affected by their culture. In Pakistan cricket, where there is a shadow of Pakistani culture is visible in the team’s behavior on and off the field, the Team management role becomes even more important. Just like you have a grandfather or a father who rules the show in the family in Pakistan normally, it is the grandfather, like figure (Coach) in the team who runs the show there. The same way that we don’t expect to have much say in front of our dad or grandfather at home, I find it a total madness to believe that a youngster would have more say in front of an ex cricketer, who was his hero when he was a kid and who is an elderly figure in the dressing room now, because well he just knows more (Like our elder’s know more always). But unlike our home culture, when there is a time to take responsibility in Pakistan cricket, the youngsters have been shown the door.

That’s not it. Pakistan’s cricket another dilemma is the disaster of not letting the youngster grow in the limelight that other players enjoy all over the world. Cricketers in this country are being treated like school boys because 3 cricketers in the past have betrayed the trust of those, who actually allowed them to do all the shoddy stuff. Players are not allowed to use social media, not allowed to talk to the media during tours, they cannot stay out after 8 at night and then the media is after them for poor performances. I feel for the players who don’t get to play any cricket at home, are being kept in a prison abroad, and being bashed by the media upside down when they don’t perform up to the expectations of this naïve but emotional Nation. The reason for all of this so-called “Curfew” from our team management is the spot fixing scandal that tainted our image. But I want to ask the team management, how about putting the restrictions on the Coach as well? Who is the same one when that scandal came in the media 5 years back? I also want to ask PCB that is this the way to treat your stars? By keeping them in a prison like environment when they are supposed to enjoy their life? On a lighter note, I think if PCB’s tactics are really working, then that means that since most of the Talibs were Pakhtoon, so we should put all the Pukhtoons in the jail because well, some of them hurt us. Woah, What A JOKE.

Pakistan’s World cup campaign was not great, and it was the player’s fault (Obviously, according to PCB officials). So let’s drop everyone who underperformed. Ok, I Agree for the sake of argument, but what about the selection of out of form Nasir Jamshed? Was that the fault of player’s as well? Or the selection of Younis Khan? Or persistence with Mr. Technically sound Asad Shafiq, who have an average of 25 in more than 50 ODI’s since the 2011 World Cup? Or the omission of Fawad Alam from the World Cup squad after being the most consistent one in the past 8 months? Or now the selection of Azhar Ali, who couldn’t play a single ODI in the last 2 years and now he is the Captain of Pakistan ODI team. Is these all the players fault as well? And we should drop all of them?

If the pain of seeing Pakistani cricket going down the road is not enough, then the news of Ahmed Shehzad being dropped was nothing less than a minor heart attack. I saw Shehzad first in 2009 in a Domestic T20 tournament and he looked a package that will serve Pakistan for ages. He was aggressive, flaunting, charismatic and stylish at the same time, a rare combination that you will not find in Pakistan cricket now a days. But somehow over the period of time, Team management made sure that they turn him into an Ahemd Shehzad, who is cautious, scared, selfish and confused at the same time. All of which took his charm away, but yet he kept producing performances more consistently than any other batsmen except Misbah.

Ahmed Shehzad, who was the 2nd highest scorer in the World Cup for Pakistan, and had the 3rdhighest average after Sarfaraz and Misbah, have been dropped from the ODI squad for the Bangladesh tour on disciplinary ground. This omission seems even more surprising considering Misbah retired already and Hafeez is just making a comeback. Knowing Shehzad and his attitude on the field, many called him “Kohli” of Pakistan cricket, which always seemed a little over exaggerating. This country has a nation who just need a small point to criticize anyone, and they found Shehzad’sselfie craze as that one thing that lead him to go through serious criticism. But I want to ask my fellow countrymen that why can’t we handle a character like Kohli in Shehzad, who is aggressive on the field, have a little flamboyance touch, and is a little active on Social media? If the likes of Maxwell’s, Kohli’s, Warner’s, Kp’s, Steyn’s can survive on the international level for so long, why not Shehzad?

PCB sources say that he believes that he is a hero already and he does not take Cricket seriously and that’s why he should be dropped? , But the records suggest otherwise. Shehzad was the third highest scorer for Pakistan in Last 2 years in ODI’s, after Hafeez and Misbah. I always believe that Cricket need characters like Afridi, Yuvraj, Gambhir, Steyn, Akhtar, KP, Gayle, who brings the magnetism to the field, and Shehzad have that bit of spark of him. These sorts of players bring the kind of performance on the field like no other player can, and that’s why they remain the blue-eyed boys in their country. I still don’t remember a Pakistani opener playing the kind of innings Shehzad played against South Africa in South Africa against the best bowling attack in the world in their own backyard. His performance on the field was not the worst and his omission seems an obvious intentional effort from our old boys, sitting in an office which is centrally Air Conditioned in the PCB headquarters, to destroy this young boy flair of magnificence that sets him apart from the rest of the team.

To conclude, it all, Shakib’s statement about Bangladesh being favourite against Pakistan in the coming series sum it all. This is the same team who hasn’t beaten us in any format for the last 16 years, but now they pose a serious threat in the coming series. This shows that now we are at the crossroads, where it can make or break for Pakistan Cricket. It is easy to blame the weaker and let go the stronger, and that’s what we have done so far. We let go the big names and sacrificed the ones who did not have a lobby on his back for his support. But it’s now or never, and it’s better to be late than never. It’s high time we should hold PCB officials and Team management accountable for their blunders, which are making Pakistan suffer more and more as the days goes by.

The original post was posted here on 08, April 2015


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