THE devastating defeat against Zimbabwe in the second Test at Harare has left Pakistan cricket in a state of disarray besides exposing the many chinks in the national team’s armour. The loss shocked fans at home — despite the team’s poor record in recent months. And it has vindicated the stance of critics and former players who had been questioning the techniques and temperament of our players when it has come to their ability to withstand pressure — in this case, from an opponent as feeble as Zimbabwe. The batting, once again, failed to measure up while the bowling only looked good in patches, barring Saeed Ajmal’s brilliant 11-wicket haul in the first Test of course. But more importantly, Misbah-ul-Haq and his men lacked the will and energy to comprehensively overcome the opposition. To put it bluntly, the zeal to excel on the field was clearly missing among the Pakistani players while the level of expediency shown by some including Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali was alarming to say the least.
The last time Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe was in Peshawar in 1998. But that was a very competitive side boasting players such as the famous Flower brothers, Alistair Campbell, pacers Henry Olonga and Heath Streak. Today’s Zimbabwe side is an inexperienced lot that is fighting for its survival and grappling with serious issues like players’ payments and lack of international cricket exposure of late. For Pakistan to draw 1-1 with them in the Tests is a shame indeed and must count as yet another low point in the country’s cricketing history. Captain Misbah and coach Dav Whatmore are once again under the spotlight for not being able to motivate the team enough. Change is imperative, although there are few signs that it is likely.