Reasons behind downfall of Pakistan cricket

Reasons behind downfall of Pakistan cricket

Pakistan lose to India in T20 WC 2024

The 2024 T20 World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean is considered by many as the greatest T20 World Cup ever. It was full of drama with small teams punching above their weight and the biggest testimony of this is Afghanistan’s journey to the Semi-final. Afghanistan are now the second-strongest Asian team in white-ball cricket beating Pakistan who again had a poor tournament on the global stage.

Loss to USA: One of the biggest upsets in world cricket

Pakistan’s loss to the USA will be considered one of the lowest points of their cricketing history. The loss to India was also a huge blow after staying ahead in the game for so long. The good work done by their bowlers was wasted as their batters could not handle the Indian bowlers and failed to show any intent. Eventually, the USA-Ireland contest was washed out in Florida and marked the end of a sorry campaign for Pakistan as they got eliminated from the tournament in the group stage.

During their golden days, Pakistan was a strong outfit with stars like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, and Zaheer Abbas followed by Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Waqar Younis. They won their first-ever One Day World Cup in 1992 with Akram and Inzamam playing key roles but they have not even reached a World Cup final since 1999. The unpredictability of the Pakistan cricket team has been famous in world cricket but the way they succumbed to loss to the USA, it’s a tragic exit from the T20 World Cup 2024.

Start of the end: Familiar story of failure year after year

Since the 2003 World Cup, it has been a familiar story of failure for Pakistan in every 50-over World Cup including the 2007 edition which was memorable for all the wrong reasons as the mysterious death of their coach Bob Woolmer in their team hotel at Jamaica added more drama to their campaign and made this their worst ever campaign in a 50-over World Cup.

Pakistan team can boast of some very good players in their line-up. Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi are two of the biggest names in contemporary cricket and can win matches singlehandedly. There are players like Muhammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, and Mohammed Amir to deliver on their day. There are some memorable performances like the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy which they won by beating India in the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup when they recorded a 10-wicket victory against the same opposition or when they reached the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup. But these performances are rare along with other heartbreaks for their fans like when they lost to Zimbabwe in the 2022 T20 World Cup or against Afghanistan in the 50-Over World Cup last year.

Challenges Pakistan face: Political chaos

No international exposure at home

One of the biggest challenges for Pakistan cricket is the ability to arrange international matches at home against quality opponents. After the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in 2009, international cricket was sopped in Pakistan as the cricket boards were not comfortable visiting them. They had to play their home Test matches at other venues like Sharjah, Dubai, and even England. In the last 2-3 years teams are coming back and both Australia and England made visits in the last 18 months which is a piece of great news for Pakistan. Also, the lack of a Test match against India also hurts Pakistan.

Lack of IPL experiences

They also missed out on the IPL experience. Pakistani players were part of IPL in the inaugural season in 2008 but after the unfortunate events of 26th November 2008, the Pakistani players were excluded from IPL and that policy is still on even after 15 years of that incident. It is a big loss for the Pakistani cricketers who miss the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest names of World Cricket. Indian fans also miss out on seeing some of these talented Pakistani players live for their beloved teams.

For the Pakistani cricketers, they have PSL or Pakistan Super League and some of them play regularly in other leagues like BBL in Australia, CPL in the Caribbean, and Vitality Blast in England but none of these leagues are at level with IPL. The lack of quality in Pakistan’s domestic cricket is a big concern for them. The top run scorers and the wicket-takers list in PSL over the last two seasons shows familiar names like Babar, Rizwan, and Shaheen in the top three.

Favouritism in Pakistan cricket team selection?

This has been a constant debate in Pakistan cricket for over last few years. There are quite a few names that have created buzz for all the wrong reasons. For instance, this time the only player who was not part of the traveling 15 for Pakistan despite performing consistently in the PSL is Usama Mir. The selectors chose to show their trust in Abrar Ahmed and all-rounders like Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. There are controversial selections in the team like Azam Khan, son of the former wicketkeeper Moin Khan, whose place in the team was questioned because of his lack of fitness and lack of performance but even he has a strike rate of 171 in PSL 2024.

Like India, Pakistan has also produced many unorthodox players who reached international standards at a very young age. But their current generation lacks the X-factor like their predecessors which very famously gave them the nickname ‘The Cornered Tigers’. This group-stage elimination will again raise many questions and may even result in an investigation by PCB to identify the reasons for their losses. But as long they are not improving their grassroots cricket, it will be difficult for them to make a strong comeback.

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