4 reasons why World Cup 2015 is nothing like World Cup 1992
Yesterday’s win against Ireland allowed Pakistan to wiggle their way into the quarter-finals. The match not only secured us a place in the top four but also allowed Sarfraz Ahmed to score his first ODI century. This century was not only important for him, but for Pakistan as well since it broke the dry spell our batsmen were suffering from since the 2007 World Cup.
Since the World Cup has begun, comparisons are being made with the 1992 edition, not just by Pakistanis but cricket fans all around the world as well.It was initially said that cricketers will be donning colour kits resembling the 1992 World Cup kit, which was proven wrong later onwards. Replica jerseys of the 1992 World Cup were sold though and were really appreciated among the fans. Keeping some obvious connections aside due to the same venue, Australia and New Zealand, people are creating similarities between the two editions to fuel their hopes of Pakistan’s world cup victory.
I am not against thinking big, not at all – ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David J Schwartz is one of my all-time favourites – but there are at least four reasons why I consider that Pakistan’s1992 World Cup campaign is not the same as the current on-going World Cup campaign.
1. Misbahul Haq is good, but he is not Imran Khan (the cricketer, not the politician)
There were instances where Misbah had a verbal spat with players on the field, including the famous one with Shahid Afridi. Even if you cannot hear the conversation, the manner in which Afridi was talking to Misbah says a lot.
Had it happened between Imran and another player before the 1992 World Cup, you might not have seen that particular player playing in the team as long as Imran would be captaining the team.
2. Getting to the semi-finals in this World Cup is not a big deal as compared to the World Cup in 1992.
The biggest difference between the two editions is probably the format.
In 1992, you had to play good cricket against strong teams to get into the top four. Every team had a chance to play against all participating teams of the tournament. There were no pools as the tournament was scheduled with the Round Robin league concept, where all teams do face each other in the tournament and the top four make it to semi-finals.
This time it is completely different. You just need to play above average cricket to qualify for the quarter-finals and then it is a matter of one or two good days and you find yourself in the finals. There is every possibility that you win the World Cup without even facing a team that you feared most. I am quite sure that even with current surge of better performances, Pakistan would have found it really tough to get into the top four with teams like Australia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
3. Lala of World Cup 2015 is not Inzi of World Cup 1992
Inzamamul Haq’s performances and knockouts in the last league matches played a critical role in achieving victory. Those cameos of 30-40 runs really turned the tables in favour of Pakistan on more than one occasion.
They were not big hundreds but there was a level of consistency the batting middle order had which instilled confidence in the lower order big hitters. This is not the case right now; we have Lala and he has all the ability to provide a late onslaught, but the last thing that comes to mind when you think about Lala’s batting is consistency. More often than not, he fails miserably and if he comes to bat on the same number where Inzi batted, he is most likely to fail, yet again.
4. Media coverage of World Cup 2015 is way more lethal than World Cup 1992
This is one more crucial difference between the two World Cups. In the earlier edition of the World Cup, the media, social and electronic, was not that advanced and players had limited access to what is going on outside.
This time around, there is a huge difference. With the help of social media, everybody who has a little bit of knowledge about the game becomes a commentator and those who do not have any knowledge at all, are critics.
There is a selection committee of 140 million people deciding which 10 players should play along with Afridi. Moreover, there are joker-cum-commentators, led by Shoaib Akhtar, who can go to any low to increase their popularity rates. Sadly, players in the tournament, not only know about this but they can even have a look at how former players are mocking their age, walking posture, etc.
Believe me, World Cup 2015 does not have to be the same as World Cup 1992 for Pakistan to win. We have the players, we have the talent and we have the support our team needs. I do not see why history will not repeat itself.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.