PANAJI: Looking at Pakistan’s performance in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023, it would be a bit hard to believe that they were the top-ranked ODI side a few weeks ago.
They have always been inconsistent and a bit unpredictable as well in big events but there was never a doubt about their quality.
They were always a threatening side and a potential title contender. Pakistan were among the hopefuls to grab the elusive trophy in the 2023 World Cup as well and they do have the right ingredients to make the impact. But the team has lacked that magic, that spark as they incurred four straight losses to have their tournament hanging in balance. But it hasn’t been just on-field issues where Babar Azam and his men have lacked.
The problems are deep-seated with a senior player levelling a serious allegation against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for hampering the team’s World Cup campaign in India.
The allegations have come just a few days after PCB issued a statement urging more support for Babar and his team while taking a stand against “media scrutiny” of the team’s performance in the World Cup.
But it was the final statement in that release that stood out to be a tad bit concerning with the skipper and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, who announced his resignation from the post recently on grounds of conflict of interest, being thrown under the bus with the words that they have been given the entire freedom to select the team.
To add to that, the release also revealed that “the board will make decisions in the best interest of Pakistan cricket based on the team’s performances in the World Cup.”
Although it is no secret that every cricket board reviews their team’s performance after an ICC event, the timing of the announcement was puzzling, especially when Pakistan, for the first time ever in World Cups, lost four straight matches in a row.
However, in a conversation with Cricbuzz, a senior player from the Pakistan team revealed that PCB deliberately wants the side to fail in this World Cup. “The board wants the team to fail, they don’t want us to win the World Cup just so that they can make the changes and take control of who leads the team and who gets into the team,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Team director Mickey Arthur is well aware of what lies ahead after the World Cup and hence did not mince words after Pakistan’s loss against South Africa last week as he clearly sided with the players.
“They (PCB) are going to be blaming everybody, don’t worry. It’s just the way of the world… It’s really unfair to start a witch hunt, certainly on Babar Azam, on Inzi, on our coaches, on the management team. What I do know is the boys have tried and the effort of the coaching staff, and the effort of the players has been first-class. If they would see the amount of effort that the players and staff put in, they would be amazed,” he said. (HT)