The Trouble with Pakistan Cricket

Pakistan Cricket Board

Pakistan Cricket Board

2008 was a unique year in the history of Pakistan Cricket. It was a year, when no Test Cricket was played by Pakistani team anywhere in the world. Yes, it was not just the cancellation or postponement of domestic Test matches in Pakistan, but amazingly no international tours were planned throughout the year. The situation has further aggravated this year (2009) with no planned Test matches for the whole year anywhere in the world. And after the cancellation of India’s tour to Pakistan and abrupt but unfortunate end to Sri Lanka  tour of Pakistan (where only one full and one half test was possible), Pakistan Cricket Board has failed to schedule any international Test series. So in essence, 2009 will also be a barren year for cricket fans around the world.

Turmoil in Pakistan and the Taliban infestation has caused cancellation of numerous tours to Pakistan. However, it still does not explain effectively why Pakistan is not touring abroad. Currently, almost all Test playing nations of the world are busy playing matches somewhere. For example, India is touring New Zealand, Australia in South Africa while England in West Indies. Yet, Pakistan is sitting at home and no tours planned for the rest of the year.

These tours are decided and scheduled years in advance with consultation of ICC (International Cricket Council) with national cricket boards. Hence, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) led by Nasim Ashraf should have scheduled and confirmed some foreign tours for Pakistan Cricket since he took over in 2006. His failure to secure matches abroad is now creating a second year where Pakistan team will not see action in the field. When Nasim Ashraf took over as the head of PCB in Fall of 2006, Pakistan Cricket was ranked among the top three teams of the world in Test Cricket as well as One day internationals. Today, however, we are not among the best.

ICC statistics show that Pakistan has played the lowest number of test (22) in the preceeding years. While teams like India (43), South Africa (41), and England (47) have played twice as many tests than Pakistan. Even Bangladesh, the lowest ranked Test team has played more tests (23) than Pakistan during the same period. Source CricInfo.

This once again points us to turmoil within Pakistan Cricket. It is not just the players, or the Taliban causing mayham. It is the ineptness and sloppy management of the board who have not only failed to organize any form of cricket anywhere in the world but also failed to promote it to its full potential. Barring a few “begged” tours (with Sri Lanka recently) and with now postponed tour with lowly ranked Bangladesh, Pakistan really has nothing planned for the foreseeable future.

Today, Nasim Ashraf and his cronies are replaced by Ijaz Butt and his new board team. Let’s see if he can organize the game better. Otherwise, Pakistan’s cricket future continues to be bleak.

Cricket – Pakistan’s Selection Inconsistency

Unlucky to miss out against Sri Lanka

Sohail Tanveer - Unlucky to miss out against Sri Lanka

Pakistan selection policy during the current Cricket Test series against Sri Lanka still suffers from the long irking inconsistency. The selectors led by Abdul Qadir seem to be still unable to select the best talent available to represent Pakistan at the highest level. In the current series, players of the calibre of Sohail Tanveer and Rao Iftikhar have been left out of the 15 players selected for the series. Rather untested and inexperienced talent of Sohail Khan and Mohammad Talha have been drafted into the 15 men chosen for the current series.

The “official” reason for dropping Sohail Tanveer and others was that they are not yet ready for Test cricket. Which is strange as both the players have performed well above everyones expectations for the past one year not to get a nod for Test cricket.

Rao Iftikhar played a vital role in the recently concluded one-day series against Sri Lanka including winning them one of the matches with some accurate bowling. Sohail Tanveer was last year declared the best bowler during the IPL (Indian Premier League) series and has been performing exceptionally well in the current domestic season in Pakistan.

Sohail Khan made his Test debut in Karachi during the first Test against Sri Lanka last week. But his performance was well below par as he never took a wicket in the two innings he bowled during the match. He also gave away a lot of runs. That was not his fault, as he is just too young and inexperienced to make an impact on the placid Karachi track. The unimpressive performance by him led to his being dropped for the next Test in Lahore where Talha has been given the Test cap.

Had Sohail Tanveer or Rao Iftikhar played the first Test in Karachi, the results could have been different. A few vital wickets of the opposition could have been snatched by them thus not letting them score a record 4th wicket partnership against Pakistan and mamoth score of almost 700 in the first innings.

In the current Test (in Lahore), Mohammad Talha has so far shown that his inexperience at bowling to quality batsmen like Sangakara and Jayawardene will not help Pakistan’s cause. If Pakistan really wants to win some Test matches, they need to field their best players. Sohail Tanveer and Rao Iftikhar not only have the experience but have also produced match winning performances on numerous occasions for Pakistan. Selecting match winners like them will only help Pakistan’s cause in winning some vital matches.