#PakvsInd: It was the same old Pakistan making the same old mistakes all over again

Published: June 5, 2017

Virat Kohli gives Ahmed Shehzad a send-off after Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets him lbw , India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Birmingham, June 4, 2017. PHOTO: GETTY

Pakistan losing to India in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments is now becoming a norm in international cricket, much to the disappointment of their fans. Judging by where Pakistani cricket is headed, it seems unlikely that this trend is going to change over the next few years.

India registered yet another comprehensive victory over their arch rivals, but this time in the ICC Champions Trophy. The eight-team tournament was the only ICC event where Pakistan held an edge over India on a head to head basis. However, the latest defeat proves that that is no longer the case as the stats are now locked at 2-2.

The entire Pakistani team cut a sorry figure in this all important Indo-Pak clash and looked out of sorts for the majority of the match. Although most of us did not rate Pakistan very highly for this particular encounter, but it was extremely disappointing to see the team lose without even putting up a proper fight.

There is no shame in losing, but it is absolutely critical that a team gives it their all on the field. Pakistan’s body language was clearly not up to the mark and, although they were physically present, their mind was just not focused enough for this high profile match. The team seemed flustered at times and lacked the energy required to match a top quality side like India. Body language plays a key role in determining the outcome of the match and Pakistan clearly came second best in this particular area.

Wahab Riaz injured during the game. Photo: ICC

I feel there is no point in going into detail of our batting woes, lacklustre bowling and usually dismal standards in the field. It was the same old Pakistan making the same mistakes all over again. Batsmen were soaking up dot balls and inviting pressure, fielders dropping crucial catches along with woeful ground fielding and the bowlers losing the plot quickly when put to test. These things have all been too common in Pakistan cricket off late and one of the major reasons behind our decline in the shorter formats.

Azhar Ali plays a shot against India. Photo: Reuters

Pakistan’s inability to play in accordance with the dynamics of modern day cricket was particularly visible throughout the entire match. Our bowlers bowled with a mind-set of restricting the flow of runs rather than going for wickets. On the other hand, our batsmen adopted the same sedate and subdued style which made the already stiff target ever so difficult. Pakistani batsmen have continued to go about their business in such a passive style, especially in the shorter formats with absolute disregard for the actual requirements and hence suffering every now and then.

Azhar Ali attempts a catch of India’s Rohit Sharma. Photo: Reuters

But one thing that I would stress upon was Sarfraz Ahmed’s poor captaincy which allowed India to dictate terms right from the outset. Perhaps the only thing Ahmed did right was winning the toss, but the rest, unfortunately, went downhill.

It will be a touch harsh to blame it all on Sarfraz, but being the captain of the side, he should be the one taking responsibility for what transpired in Edgbaston. The wicket-keeper cum batsman had a pretty below par day in the field as captain and most of the shots he called backfired.

Beginning with the decision to give Imad Wasim the new ball was clearly not the right ploy. Especially considering the way with which Mohammad Amir started the proceedings from the other end, and the overcast conditions having an impact, it was simply unfathomable as to why Wasim was given the new ball rather than one of the pacers.

Imad Wasim reacts after bowling a ball. Photo: ICC

Mohammad Amir bowls during the match. Photo: ICC

Rather than going for wickets with an aggressive approach upfront, Ahmed opted for a more defensive approach with the plan of containing the opposition. This plan, although kept a lid on the scoring during the initial stages of the match, resulted in lack of early wickets which consequently paved India’s path to a ruthless batting display towards the back end of the innings where they scored heavily with the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli in full flow.

Yuvraj Singh celebrates his half-century. Photo: ICC

Ahmed’s rotation and choice of bowlers should also be scrutinised.

Almost every Indian batsman was given a chance to settle down and get their eye rather than cashing in with your ace bowlers when a new player came out to bat.

It was baffling that Mohammad Hafeez did not even bowl a single over during the Indian innings. Pakistan have got it all wrong if they think he cuts it into this side purely as a batsman. Here it was interesting to mention that the professor has a good track record against left-handed batsmen, but despite Shikhar Dhawan’s presence, Hafeez was not brought onto to bowl.

Shikhar Dhawan in action. Photo: ICC

With Wahab Riaz leaking runs from one end, who had a day to forget with the ball in hand, Pakistan would have been better off had they extracted more overs out of Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Bearing in mind the fact that Ahmed is a relatively new captain, he will go through days when things won’t work out for him. But having said that, the onus is on him to quickly learn from his mistakes and lead the side in a better manner.

Here I must make this absolutely clear that Pakistan’s loss was not all down to Ahmed’s poor captaincy as Pakistan were miserable on all fronts against India. But being the captain of the side, he has to be cleverer and street smart in a leadership role. With the captain in the right frame of mind, it is easier to inspire the side and channel positive vibes throughout the entire team.

Pakistan have now got their backs against the wall with no room for further mistakes, which is why it remains to be seen how our skipper and our side react to this defeat and fare in the upcoming matches against South Africa and Sri Lanka respectively.

Muneeb Farrukh

Muneeb Farrukh

The author is a freelance sportswriter based in Karachi. He tweets as @Muneeb313_ (twitter.com/Muneeb313_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Tom

    Really???????? It was not India’s great team thrashing a weaker team?????Recommend

  • Mohammed Mirza

    Pakistan stands no chance against South AfricaRecommend

  • Rohan

    Pakistan batting has been hopeless since inzy and the golden generation retired Recommend

  • N S

    bunch of street kids playing cricket for pak..:)Recommend

  • Feroz

    Please also talk about the fitness level of the Pakistani players, two bowlers simply could not complete their quota of ten overs. We read there was a fitness test before selection of the team, but obviously it was not good enough. This Pakistani team does not have the quality and skill to compete with the top teams. Failure is collective.Recommend

  • NKAli

    WE put on the TV when the Indian batsmen came to the crease. After 3 overs and 5 runs, we put the TV off. Again we switched over to the channel when Pak batsmen were coming into bat at 22 runs for no loss. The third time we tuned onto the channel, we were UNSURPRISED to see India won by 125 runs. End of game.
    Mickey Arthur, some time back, said the team has to adopt modern methods of playing cricket. Foreign and domestic coaches will come and go but the mentality will not change. PCB HAS TO BE PRIVATIZED.
    Remember the maxim: “Where there is a will there is a way. And this must be the way not of compulsion but of cooperation… No government and no plan can succeed without it…” Lionel Murphy (brainyquote.com/)Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    With this attitude quite right but you never know which Pakistani team will turn up on that dayRecommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    Yes India were the better team on paper but Pakistan threw in the towel way too easily without putting up a fight.Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    Fitness is major concern too, when different standards are in place for different players, it is natural that such a thing will occur. Merit is not a priority in Pakistan cricket anymore.Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    UnfortunateRecommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    Much to do with the system in operation, this was bound to happen.Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    With this attitude quite right but you never know which Pakistani team will turn up that dayRecommend

  • Ashraf Patel

    India plays in a different level, Pakistan still plays 90s cricket and waiting for a messiah. In Indian team every man is a king and a fighter and no one waits for someone else to come in and save the cricketRecommend

  • Mahesh Dutt

    But Sir, on what basis you felt Pak team was better than India on head to head basis….seems like a crude joke.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    The article tries to paint a picture that… but for strategic and tactical mistakes Pak team would have won or they would have fighting chance. I beg to differ. The captain made mistakes and that shows his lack of class but what about other 10 members? The bowlers must take most blame for the outcome. They forced Pak batsmen to compete with Indian batting head on. The result was inevitable. It was Pak baller’s responsibility to ensure that weaker Pakistani batting line up need not get into head on competition with Indian batting. They shoudl have restricted Indian batting to 250 or so. Pakistan needs to improve their sub par balling department. Else they stand no chance. Pak batting is not going to improve in a hurry. That will take many years assuming it ever happens.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Sports, most importantly, a country’s favorite sport, is a reflection of how the country is doing generally. That is why most of the developed countries bag the gold in the Olympics.

    Pakistan was doing better than India economically in the 80s as it got massive aid due to Soviet war in Afghanistan and this foreign funded growth reflected in its society in the 80s and was in effect till the late 90s. India’s growth story started in the 90s and the kids like Kohli and Dhawan and Sharma, who were part of the transformation in the 90s are now leading the Indian team.

    Slowly you will see India win more medals in various other sports and this will happen organically. India can’t do military style Olympic boot camps like how Soviets did it and how Chinese are doing it, as we are a Democratic society. We will grow the best of our ability and not force it like the Chinese.

    Pakistan will never achieve the kind of success India has already, as the very basis of Pakistan is shaky and under constant revision. Pakistan has to get used to losing against India.Recommend

  • Sumit

    Old Pakistan Teams were good.Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    Can’t agree moreRecommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    I am not entirely blaming it all on the captain but that does not negate the fact that this was Sarfraz’s worst display of captaincy since being made captain. Also, as I said in the article, there is little point in discussing the mistakes that the batsmen and bowlers have made time and again over the past year or so. It is just frustrating to see them no learn from their mistakes.Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    The head to head basis was merely from a statistical point of view, read this piece for more http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/50660/its-pakvsind-in-the-champions-trophy-once-again-but-can-india-equalise-the-score-of-2-1/Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    We have got ourselves to blame for the brand of cricket we playRecommend

  • Mariana Nichols

    Excellent Blog. I think very useful for all people. keep up the great posts!Recommend

  • Muneeb Farrukh

    Thank You so much!Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    How does the answer I provide disprove what I have said above, Einstein?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Patriotism is blinding. Mixed with Islamism it’s dangerous for the mind, body and soul.

    You are a perfect example of both.

    Basically everything you utter has no basis in truth and shows a mind which is violent or is too cowardly for violence. I think the former. The potential exists, Im sure.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    That’s how the urban society is now. The rat race has made us better competitors and people expect quality for the price. Cricket is a reflection of this mentality.

    Pakistan hasnt seen such transformation and stuck in a time warp. It’s a veritable security state which is increasingly burdened by growing dept and defense spending, with very little attention to development. India, thankfully, doesn’t have such problems. Recommend