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The way forward

Pakistan’s cricket chiefs should avoid the temptation of short-cuts and instead go for long-term measures to lift the standard of the game in this country

The way forward

The national team’s poor performance New Zealand and Australia has led to a new debate on Pakistan cricket. Thought it was expected, it is interesting to see cricket Pundits talking excessively about the removal of the one-day captain and retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. They are putting weight behind Sarfaraz Ahmed as the captain for all three formats. They think this is the solution to all our cricketing woes.

Whenever the team performs badly, everyone starts making a lot of hue and cry. Even those who do not have a clue about the game start posing as experts and senselessly criticise the players without ever analyzing the facts. Their comments often lack logic and expose their poor knowledge of the game. It’s a case of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’.

Unfortunately, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in so many years has been unable to identify people who really understand the game, particularly modern cricket. It has been mentioned countless times before that everyone who has played international cricket does not necessarily qualify to become a coach or an expert of the game’s technicalities. If this was true, the cricket heavyweights attached with the PCB would have guided Pakistan to endless glory. But they have failed to do so miserably.

I am sorry to say that the big names of our cricket world make U-turns very quickly and without logic. Change of captaincy or coach will bring no improved performances. Pakistan team’s graph can only improve if confidence is given to the players, certain targets are set to judge performance, merit prevails in team selection and there’s accountability of all players and officials no matter how big they are.

The confidence will only come when players start trusting the PCB, the selection committee and the team management. Once the confidence is there, the team starts performing as a unit and plays according to match requirement.

First things first. Those attached with Pakistan cricket never think about betterment of Pakistan cricket. It is evident through their actions. They take decisions to oblige each other not for the greater cause of Pakistan cricket. They have been appointed on political grounds. They have identified cricketers that they can easily control.

Jalal Graph

Roundtable conferences will not bringany fruitful results. It needs to be understood that only change of captain and a few players will not improve the performance of Pakistan team. There are other areas that cannot be ignored. The following four pillars are extremely important.

The above mentioned pillars will help Pakistan cricket in a short term. Besides, our domestic cricket standard has to be raised by providing quality grounds, appointing reputed umpires, good team selection, top players’ participation, quality board and lodging, matches schedule, supporting pitches, and handsome pay scale. It is pertinent to mention that first-class cricket should be played separately among departments and among regions. The competition will help produce quality players at domestic level.

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Those have been tried and failed to deliver may not be given another opportunity on the basis of domestic performances. PCB must look at grassroots cricket development as a long-term project (Clubs, School, Academies).

At this level we need to organise competitive cricket for clubs and schools and make a mechanism to demolish vote-based selection at District and Regional level. If we are able to bring back competitive school and club cricket, quality cricketers will emerge. PCB should show patience in its bid to improve overall cricket. There are no short-cuts.

Jalal Uddin

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