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Dreaming the dream team for Pakistan


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enter image description hereThat the bunch of talented and spoiled boys we have raised as the national cricket team is in for a shake-up after the Champions Trophy debacle will be the understatement of the season. They may all be fired summarily, without benefits, for all we care.

It is not about this tournament though, which was only a catalyst, or about Team Pakistan which has been seriously ill for a long time. It’s the cricket officialdom in Pakistan. We have created a shady organisation headed by a political appointee and filled with cronies and lackeys of all shades. This rag tag administration has given us more scandals than cricket matches and more crooks, druggies, slackers and gamblers than professional cricketers and inspiring sportsmen. Sending them all back home will be neither unfair nor shocking for anyone.

The big question is who do we replace them with? That this country of nearly 200 million is teeming with talent is a given. The occasional display of excellence and triumph on the field is proof that regardless of the system’s hindrances some of the talent does filter through. Only, people charged with spotting talent and grooming it cannot decide on the definition of talent and the location of the talent pool. And so, we have a cricket board that has been looking for a batsman wicket keeper for many years but it casts its net only in the Akmal household. It selects Imran Farhat for every tournament in the hope that the opener’s talent will finally unlock, that he’ll find his groove eventually. It pits one player and group of players against the other and watches them fight their locker room fights on the ground.

So who decides what’s good for Pakistan cricket? It’s the president of Pakistan who is patron-in-chief of Pakistan Cricket Board. He has the authority to appoint a senile and withering old man who played a couple of Test matches in the days of black-and-white television, or a banker, a bureaucrat, a retired or serving army general, a medicine doctor … as head of the board. He receives Shoaib Malik and his Indian tennis star wife, Sania Mirza, at the presidency and that makes Malik – thrown out of the team for consistently bad performance, breach of discipline, and financial misconduct – fit to be in the team again. Every criminal activity by the players – abusing and smuggling drugs, match and spot fixing etc – is not only tolerated and never investigated (unless arm-twisted by ICC) but defended in foreign courts with your money and mine (we paid a million dirhams to get Mohammed Asif out of a UAE jail where he ended up for drugs possession, according to newspaper reports).

But cricket is our game. We pay the board its ridiculously generous salaries, allowances and privileges, shamefully disproportionate to their responsibilities. We pay the players for representing us at the international level and when they do well we make them our heroes and fill the stadium to cheer them up. The entire structure of cricket exists in this country because of us, because of our passion for cricket and because of our money. It is, therefore our right to guide the PCB in finding and retaining cricketing talent. Here is a set of suggested guidelines that you are welcome to add to:

1- Talent means cricketing talent, not the talent to whack every ball with closed eyes or hit the deck hard with a mindless regularity or to produce and sell cricket gear. For the example of a well-rounded and committed cricketer as role model for today’s young we have to go back to Javed Miandad who, in addition to being a class batsman, was a live wire in the field in the days when fielding wasn’t as glamorous and as crucial as it is today. Since him we have only been getting bowlers and batsmen, not cricketers.

2- The game of cricket is all about making runs. It starts and ends with making a certain number of runs in a certain number of overs. If you aren’t making runs, at the required pace, you have no place in the team. At present, half our team cannot bat because they see themselves only as bowlers or wicket keepers. No more. The Dream Team will bat, and make runs, all the way to the last pair. Exceptions will be very few. You can be allowed to bat like Mohammed Irfan only if you can bowl better than Wasim Akram.

3- Our batsmen follow either the Afridi or the Misbah school, sometimes both in the same innings, like making six runs in 30 balls and then getting out trying to hit a big one, and as a result wasting five overs and a wicket. Afridi and Misbah are merely states of mind, one is flashy and hurried, the other is painfully slow and both are self-defeating, and for that reason redundant in modern limited overs cricket. We need batsmen who can defend well all the time and attack fearlessly when required. The followers of the two above-mentioned styles will automatically be disqualified.

4- Regardless of how seriously we take our cricket, it remains a sport. It’s a game to be enjoyed. And so, it follows that, players are partly entertainers. They entertain us with their mastery of the sport. They use international fixtures to showcase their skill and innovation. Even during the hardest and slowest of toils a batsman will find a ball now and then to flash his bat at, to wow the spectators. The fielder will pull off an impossible catch; the wicket keeper will perform a stunt of a stumping under the influence of spectators-induced adrenalin. If the player enjoys what he is doing, and does it well consistently, he is entertaining.

5- Physical fitness is all well and good but cricket is essentially a mind game. It’s a clash of wills between a batsman and 11 opponents. As the weaker side starts accepting the opponent’s domination, the match is over, mentally. For this reason we need young men with brains, those who are strong of will and have power of passion and conviction. We need 18-year-old men, not 30-something-year-old boys.

6- And before any of the above, the PCB must be made accessible to players and accountable to people. It should be run by cricketers, cricket lovers, and professional administrators, not Zardaris, Musharrafs and their chamchas, They need to play their own game and leave ours to us.

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Masud Alam is an Islamabad-based writer, columnist and journalism trainer. He can be reached at

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (110) Closed

Umer Khan Jun 22, 2013 05:07pm

Very nicely captured, love the flow and the way it reads, and more than everything, the combination of astute analysis, and the courage to bring the issues up so openly. If a lot is missing from our cricket, its also because of the lack of this kind of journalism that could bring things up in the Team, the Board, and the Government. Nice job, Mr. Alam.

Ebrahim Tily Jun 22, 2013 05:15pm

Agree with what is stated in Mr Alam's article but who will do this. We don't expect from the present Board, which is again will be run by an Interim Chief. As far as the patron-in-chief is concerned, he has not done anything good for cricket so we have to wait and PRAY that once we get a new President and he appoints a thorough professional gentleman to head the PCB then we can think of something about the next World Cup. The next PCB chief should have guts NOT to accept any political or other influence to improve performance and get good results for the Country.

Navaid Jun 22, 2013 05:14pm

Fantastic article!!!!!!But I would add one very critical aspect in the selection qualification criteria and that is EDUCATION, 95% of our cricketer who represent Pakistan have no clue how this game is played now a days.It has become such a mental game that most of the teams in the world get us beat before the game commences.

Mr.Zardari (Patron of PCB),Zaka Ashraf,Iqbal Qasim & Waseem Bari you can all go back in your hole and pretend to be a mole because that's where you belong. Such shameful is their act that so far nobody has given a single statement about this startling performance at C.T.

But Mr.Masud I wouldn't hold my breath cause we are going to hear the same line about the same player's selection "These are the best of the best we can find to represent Pakistan" and while the actual best are mere bench warmers.

shah Faisal swati Jun 22, 2013 05:16pm

very nice article, infact everything mentioned above is true, our selectors have selected only a bunch of 30 players everytime they are selecting team from these they are simply ignoring the talent available in the country

Shahid Jun 22, 2013 05:28pm

(1) Reform our first class structure with only top 8 teams playing it out. It will make it competetive so that the batsmen won't face easy bowler and the bowler don't get easy wickets. (2) Arrange a lot of A-team tours to England, South Africa, NewZealand and Australia so that the new talent can get a taste of these wickets. (most important point) (3) Get rid of people like Miandad, Intekhab, Ilyas etc who are drawing millions without any contribution. Bring in some innovative new blood. (4) The policy of revolving the failed players again and again for tens of years should stop now. Let the boys like, Haris Sohail, Usman Sallahudin, Umar Akmal, Ahmad Shehzad and Fawad Alam have a decent run. Some of them may fail but we may also find one or two good ones.

ahmad butt Jun 22, 2013 06:18pm

Its a waste of time commenting on cricket, politics and religion in Pakistan, there is no end to the argument and no one admits he is wrong. I just remember Geoffrey Boycott analyse Pakistan cricket back in the 1999 world cup and after saying that there should be two different teams for the format, and shahid afridi is not a test player, he will play one good inning but disastrous 10, but who cares, media and the cricket crazy love him and then curse him, the fault lies in the corrupt officials and the cricket fans equally. Bottomline, till the structure is not fixed, nothing can happen really

ivehadit Jun 22, 2013 06:27pm

Masud Alam is angry at everything and justifiably so, but rather than venting at the corruption in sports, he unfortunately targets entire groups of people - withering old men, tennis stars, you name it. it's a bit jarring to read. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water and make the team an under 18 squad, not a national team. No other country does this!

Rogers Evans Jun 22, 2013 06:26pm

Well written atricle, although it needs a lot more facts to be mentioned in it. However my question is " Where is the Acting (Intrim) PCB Chief as per orders of IHC ?" ICC meeting is starting on 27th June, but no one to represent PCB there. What is going here ?

Krishna Jun 22, 2013 06:39pm

The best solution to the current problem is that, don't make heroes out of pakistani cricketers who excel only against India. Cricketers like Shoiab Malik consistently perform against India and consistently fail against other teams. The PCB is obsessed with performance against India, that if you win against India by giving good performance then that player is given 30-40 matches to play, even if he doesn't perform. The loser here is the Pakistani cricket fans who want to enjoy good cricket. Indian cricket team is just another cricket team and there are other teams like Sri Lanka, Australia, England, NZ, SA, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh..

zahid Jun 22, 2013 07:05pm

Mr Masud Alam you presented Nothing new in your column. we know in pakistan politics and non merit selection. Question is who selected Iqbal qasin as a chief selector? Iqbal qasim has No batting experience and he is selecting batsman for champion trophy. That is why selection committee selected Imran farhat and Malik. Coach whitmore also selected on non merit basis. question is why why and why?What happened to all cricket acadamies?why pakistan is nor producing local pakistanis young kids.

ndean Jun 22, 2013 07:10pm

Start with Overhauling the PCB and the Selection Committee. Get rid of corrupt and incompetent officials.

Xeal Jun 22, 2013 07:49pm

After the CT's performance, Afridi and Younis will come back. Possibly Malik and Farhat will be dropped. After the next debacle Malik and Farhat will be back while Younis and Afridi and maybe one of the Akmals will be dropped. This keeps on happening. But then again we the fans are fools to expect performances from them. They do perform here and there but not consistently and most of them are parchis. Now if the whole system of the nation is corrupt, how do we expect to find 11 sincere and honest guys specially when the game has so much to offer money wise. And no I am not calling them fixers or cheaters. I am calling them incompetent and safarshi like the other government officials.

Khadim Jun 22, 2013 07:56pm

I think we should forget about the mens team, they have been given enough chances. Lets just focus on womens team as they give their 100% + for the country.

WeCare Jun 22, 2013 08:01pm

Everyone sincere to Pakistan knows where the problem lies. Ironically even foreigners know that eneligible PCB officials and incompetent players are self-destructing Pakistani cricket. But NOTHING HAPPENS.. The same incompetent selection continues and continues.. and its been happening for a long time. The only difference is that once in a while players like Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Miandad, Imran and etc managed to overshadow the incompetencies of others. Now event those overshadowers are gone, the incompetencies are more clearly evident and devastating. For crying out loud - Is there anyone who would take the step get rid of this corrupt system?

MAF Jun 22, 2013 08:06pm

We are a shameless gutless, spineless nation. Why bother writing these articles, do you think anyone that matters even reads them? Pakistanis are a "Mari Hui Qaum" no matter what it comes to, we love our Star plus! and now Raymond clothing too.

John Smith Jun 22, 2013 08:10pm

may be start with looking for talent outside Punjab and form a true Pakistani team.

Ali Ahmed Khan Jun 22, 2013 08:18pm

Not only that I agree with all the suggestions of Masud, but would demand that he should be given the responsibility of implementing them.I don't know about his cricketing talents, but the way he has diagnosed the disease and prescribed the cures ,I think only he can restore our cricket to a healthy state.

kamran Jun 22, 2013 08:31pm

Lets try to make a real, talented and true team for odi. Pls help... 1. Jamshed 2. Ahmad Shahzad 3. Umer Akmal 4. Umer Amin 5. Misbah 6. Hafeez. 7. Wicketkeeperbatsman ?. 8. Wahab/Hammad Alam. 9. Gul/Junaid. 10. Ajmal. 11. Irfan

A Subhan Jun 22, 2013 09:36pm

Is it really true, that we paid a million dirhams to get Mohammed Asif out of a UAE jail where he ended up for drugs possession, as your above column says? Pity the nation, that does not know the details about these expenses. Pity the nation, that does not have enough, hospitals and schools, but they still have beautiful sports stadiums. Now that we know that these sports concerns are actually big drain of public money, I am compelled to ask a basic question. Do we really need these sports teams? What should top our priority list? More hospitals, more schools or more of these sports teams?

Imtiaz Jun 22, 2013 10:20pm

Well we do have an under 19 team and those who make it to that level need to be given further international exposure before some move on to the Pakistan A squad should also get the exposure to international fixtures. Every A squad player should have the ability to challenge for a place in the National team.

However I do agree wholeheartedly that cricket is a mind game and we need at every level a competent and experienced sports psychologist to impart mental toughness, discipline confidence through motivational lectures, yoga, meditation

Supreme Physical fitness must be a key determining factor to get into any squad.

Emphasis on fielding should be increased several fold. If a player does not match up to the highest standards of ground fielding and catching he must not be allowed to participate no matter how good a batsman or bowler he might be

A local coach who understands the culture and mentality and is able to effectively communicate with the players.

Time to appoint a young captain and give him extended exposure and proper support. Also true that over 30s in the side must be expected to perform consistently and act as role models for the 20s. More under 30s and a couple of under 20s. A good balance is needed

Cricket administration must be run by professional cricketers and other professionals in finance Marketing and HR.

Lastly it is time to devise a clear strategy backed by an action plan to bring back international cricket to Pakistan within a short period of time.

The above is by no means a comprehensive formula to mprove Performance. We must however start with an implementation plan before it is too late. Make winning the 2015 World Cup our target. It can be done!

MadMax Jun 22, 2013 11:46pm

@Umer Khan: I cannot Thank You enough for the SLAP

Muhammad Awais Jun 23, 2013 12:04am

First Chairman and secondly selectors must be dropped as early as possible, the team having such a crap which work under the political pressure and then our team fails to perform well.

kirther Jun 23, 2013 12:35am

Don't forget that BCCP is being managed as Board of Control in Punjab and there is not a hint that "P" stands for Pakistan, thus lob sided decisions are expected and very obvious. Cricket like hockey and squash will vanish from Pakistan unless people like Noor Khan come forth and take charge of the situation. During his time all three sports Cricket, hockey and squash were very well managed but unfortunately people like him do not belong to a particular lobby, it is for this reason that such people do not get the required encouragement and support as a result Pakistan as a nation ends up being the ultimate looser.

imran3000 Jun 23, 2013 01:00am

We lost all games we were good at, slowly, its hard to accept loss of cricket, in my opinion we have no bench talent, we have no system which may produce talented batsmen, our greatest batsmen were product of uk county experience, I foresee no hope for change, other nations have batsman scoring 100s in 20/20, our batsmen cant score 20 runs in any form of cricket, so for me Pakistan cricket is dead. We cant expect to win games by good bowling, when we have clowns who play as batsmen. Like all good things in Pakistan, Cricket also died some where along the road.

Atif Jun 23, 2013 01:01am


It may be an Indian perception that malik is in the team because of India. The fact is that both misbah and afridi valued him as an ODI player. And he did have some stats to go with his bowling and fielding.

Wasim Akram was also of the view that Malik comes and goes. Instead, he should be given a reasonable run and then decided upon his performance.

However, malik, Farhat need to go now. Pakistan will have to back a keeper as well. Kamran Akmal at least needs a competitor. Instead, he must be hoping for a test return.

Amir Jun 23, 2013 01:59am

A little background of the term "Dream Team". The term was first used when the US put together their basketball team for the 1992 olympics. The team consisted of legendary basketball players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, etc., and hence the term Dream Team was justified. Keeping the context of the term, you cannot put together a "Dream Team" for Pakistan for obvious reasons. What Pakistan needs is to pick players on the basis of performance and not perception or political influence, etc. This is how Imran Khan used to pick his team that is why he was quite successful. Jun 23, 2013 02:09am

@Krishna: They lost in the world cup...they lost in the CT...what r u talking about?

j k Jun 23, 2013 02:59am

we have a mediocre team with no talent on the batting end don't blame misbah, he is a performer the rest only GOD can help specially the professor................kick him out he is untalented and makes sure no talent can hit thte timea, lest it make him seem bad

Hamid Jun 23, 2013 03:48am

The current bunch of players will be fired only to return after a year or so. Remember Sydney debacle, Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat. Our selectors have an inseparable affilliation with these boys.

Navaid Jun 23, 2013 04:10am

@ivehadit: You are absolutely right!!!!!! No other teams fields all the under-18 against top class teams but chances are the(Present) Pakistani team might get beaten by the under-18 team from any of those 7 countries on any given day!!!!!!

Riaz(Ray) Ahmad Jun 23, 2013 04:10am

As long as Quota system remain in Pakistan for selection instead of talent .we be seeing great disaster in Pak sports.

Riaz(Ray) Ahmad Jun 23, 2013 04:10am

As long as Quota system remain in Pakistan for selection instead of talent .we be seeing great disaster in Pak sports.

ammar Jun 23, 2013 10:07am

I still don't understand why we didn't pick Ahmed Shehzad and Fawad Alam for CT. WE should drop Shafiq and Shoaib

Osman Jun 23, 2013 10:23am

I wouldn't have minded at all if a new look Pakistan team (with 7-8 youngsters) had lost all 3 matches in the CT, but at least we had tried to discover new talent for Pakistan's future.

Pakistan's Test Squad: Nasir Jamshed; Azhar Ali; Asad Shafiq; Fawad Alam; Misbah (c); Sohaib Maqsood; Adnan Akmal (wk); Abdur Rehman; Umar Gul; Saeed Ajmal; and Mohd Junaid. RESERVES: Younus Khan; Babar Azam; Haris Sohail; Anwar Ali; Ehsan Adil.

Pakistan's One-Day Squad: Nasir Jamshed; Ahmed Shezad; Hafeez (c); Umar Akmal (wk); Fawad Alam; Haris Sohail; Hammad Azam; Umar Gul; Saeed Ajmal; Mohd Junaid; and M. Irfan. RESERVES: Sohaib Maqsood; Asad Shafiq; Ehsan Adil; Raza Hasan and Adnan Akmal.

Pakistan's T20 Squad: Nasir Jamshed; Ahmed Shezad; Hafeez (c); Umar Akmal (wk); Asad Shafiq; Haris Sohail; Shahid Afridi; Hammad Azam; Umar Gul; Saeed Ajmal; and Mohd Junaid. RESERVES: Sohaib Maqsood; Ehsan Adil; Raza Hasan; M Irfan and Adnan Akmal.

John Jun 23, 2013 10:55am

Pakistan's supporter should be blamed a bit for it as well, they love aggression in the field, they love attacking players, very few technical player have been a superstar in Pakistan cricket. Pakistan needs more Mohd. Yusuf, Inzi, Anwar coz attacking players can play till they have confidence once they start losing the form and diping down in confidence they will be noting but a mere visitor for couple of balls in the crease!! Umar Akmal is a gifted player but always throws his wicket away by trying to be aggresive most of them are the victims of that... I am an Indian cricket supporter and I equally love Kohli and Pujara... Pakistan should learn to do that as well.. just my opinion!! Peace.

Que Jun 23, 2013 11:28am

WHY are we constantly blaming Shoaib Malik & Kamran Akmal!!!! It is understood they did not perform up to their mark BUT what about: Misbah (Failed as a Captain! Solution: Revoke captaincy & play as a batsman only!) Hafeez (Failed in all departments! Solution: Sideline him; he is taking his place in the team for granted!) Farhat (Failed & damaged all the way.. Solution: Gone with the wind!) Jamshed (In-consistent in his batting. Solution: Keep him but under close watch) Shafiq (In-consistent in his batting. Solution: Keep him and let him play his natural game) Amin (Lack of experince. Solution: Keep him and let him play his natural game) Add the following people in the team: Afridi (ODI captain), Younis (batting), Imran Nazir (hostile opener), Ahmed Shahzad (hostile opener), Umer Akmal (aggresive batting) & Razzaq (aggresive batting) Last but not least: FIRE Iqbal Qasim Loser ASAP!!

Pakistini Fan Jun 23, 2013 11:37am

I think Pakistani team is still far better than India. So what if India has won all of its CT matches still Pakistan looked stronger that them. Get us one more match and we will defeat India for sure.

Ebrahim Tily Jun 23, 2013 12:03pm

@ndean: This is a million dollar question "who will bell the cat"?

Ebrahim Tily Jun 23, 2013 12:19pm

@ahmad butt: Do you think if we talk of Economics & Finance and that will work? No way - I like this saying "You do your best and leave the rest to God". Have faith in God and God will do and take care of Pakistan. Insha Allah

Arslan Nazir Jun 23, 2013 12:51pm

@ndean: Geting rid of David Watmore is one option and bring back Mohsin Hasan Khan as couch with full authority.

XL Jun 23, 2013 01:30pm

@Pakistini Fan: Sure, see ya in 2113, by that time may be Pakistanis like you will wake up from your slumber. Enjoy your wet dream though!

Naveed Jun 23, 2013 01:52pm

It's an eye opener for PCB, all these talks about enough talent is nothing but a smoke screen and a bunch of lies to enjoy the perks and benefits...none of the PCB officials are worthy enough to discuss and that includes Miamdad as well. Apart from eating resources what has he done for Pak cricket and the list goes on.

If there is any talent left they would have unleashed that already, these talks are just to prolong there perks. The shameful selection team hasn't even bother to take responsibility and resign.

The biggest nursery of Pakistan was Karachi and its been destroyed by the political parties especially MQM. There is no cricket left I. Karachi. I am a karachi its as well but feel sorry for the kids as they can't play cricket any more the way we used to so for entertainment they have other means now.

Unfortunately we Pakistanies are masters of mismanagement.

Rogers Evans Jun 23, 2013 02:32pm

@Pakistani Fan. Please stop dreaming and face the facts. Indian Team is much better and players play for their country and not for individualism. The PCB structure needs change. Entire present employees of PCB, its Chairman, Selectors and Coaches should be shown the DOOR. These people should not be brought back in any capacity at all. Some honest and unselfish professionals shouldd run PCB. The team must be selected on merit basis. Nepotism, safarish and political influence must be eradicated. This will bring good players, who will devote themselves for the cause of country and bring good results.

Kalimullah Jun 23, 2013 02:37pm

One word stop talking and start working.

Three Steps 1. Call nationwide talent hunt program 2. Call all selected persons (without any source or influence from outside) 3. Make four teams and start a tournament in which each team play at least two matches with opponent team.
4. Based on wickets taken and run score select individuals with reserve backup 5. Make five matches series against the current national side. 6. Based on performance select national team with same criteria (wickets taken and run scores).

Result You got best team with available player.

SK Jun 23, 2013 03:19pm

All the comments has one underpinning theme and that is the hegemony of a corrupt oligarchy who had traditionally been in control of Pakistan Cricket Board. What has a president of a country ever to do with sports, unfortunately in our case he is the Supremo. He nominates his retired cronies from any occupational background with no vision, experience or knowledge. His nominated crony then selects team based on ethnicity and nepotism. Merit , fairness and transparency is set aside. Corrupt and malafide practices becomes prevalent. The nation suffers the humiliation of shameful defeats in international games due to unmerited selection based on personal gains and gratifications.

Aun Ali Jun 23, 2013 03:41pm

Merit is only the criteria and key success factor for Pakistan cricket team. Until the "PCB" is not filled with merit, the team will hardly perform. The team knows that do not have accountability and are not answerable to anyone as they will pop again in next matches after failure because they know they have their "CONTACTS" in selection and in management teams.

SK Jun 23, 2013 03:43pm

@Krishna: Yes Krisha , we agree with your comments . Many of us here actually think that all players in the team should be sacked along with the all the coaches and PCB administration at all levels. The Organisation needs cleansing and revamping. It's the time the old , lame and visionless players and coaches shown the door and replaced by invigorating , young, dynamic , fresh and visional people who could reshape the team and make it competitive and fearsome as it used to be few decades back.

pct Jun 23, 2013 04:25pm

right about afridi..our team's basic problem is that they lack confidence,once they lose 2-3 wkts early they just start playing like babies means no confidence,unlike other teams whose every player tries to perform either they are openers or middle orders..we just need aggresion and confidence otherwise we will really remain mediocre not the world class..

Syed W Ali Jun 23, 2013 04:38pm

Mr. Masud Alam states the obvious, but offers no remedies. He says that we need to help rectify what PCB failed, but offers nothing as to how we (the cricket fans) should do so. Thanks, but no thanks. Such is a plight of journalism in our country.

Amit Jun 23, 2013 04:51pm

@Pakistini Fan: The article is exactly for you. Day Dreaming

aisha Jun 23, 2013 05:02pm

The captain is the best batsmen and deserves to keep his place in the batting line up, but he is a terrible captain for persisting with likes of Shoaib malik. The selectors can only pick the top 14, the final 11 have to be picked by the captain. There is no doubt a personal liking by Misbah for Shoaib Malik and if Misbah cannot come out of personal favorites, we need to find a skipper who will...

shereen Jun 23, 2013 05:13pm

yawn! btw, 18 year old men are made by a set of non-possessive parents, schools, and society. by allowing kids to take a lead on their lives and learn from those decisions. dream on, at least for another several years.

umar Jun 23, 2013 05:23pm

@Xeal: i totally agree with your views .. ... we need to clear the dead wood from top to bottom ......but the question is how .....every fabrication in our society is held together with corruption ..... root out corruption .... every thing will fall in to place inshallaha

nishat wasif Jun 23, 2013 05:27pm

Please brother stop competing against India at the present Pakistan has no chance, Pakistan can only win against India with the help of the bookies, there is no comparison, please grow up

Fahad Jun 23, 2013 06:24pm

For years we have bragged about our talent claiming no dearth of good cricketers in the country. India on the contrary did not rely on this but in fact they worked hard to build talent.

This phrase puts it simply: "Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard."

India's hard work has managed to defeat Pakistan's talent as Pakistan is simply not working hard. We need to stop replying on talent alone and need to put in extra efforts to stand with heads high at the international cricketing stage.

ranganath Jun 23, 2013 06:56pm

@Pakistini Fan: You are truely a Pakistani fan. NO doubt about it.

afrasiab Jun 23, 2013 07:09pm

Build a new team, take India as an example.

ABL Jun 23, 2013 07:41pm

I reviewed the stats of domestic one-day matches/tournament. The top performing batsmen and bowlers were (more or less) selected for the national representation. This means, we surely lack fresh talent. Firstly, we were acutely deficient in quality batsmen, now the quality bowlers are also disappearing. No single person or selectors should be blamed. The mediocre performance of our batsmen has been the same over the last several years. Let's be realistic and not emotional, by saying that we have tons of talent. Even Wasim Akram's talent hunt could not find any bowler crossing 145 kph. (Wahab crossed 150 during the CT). To figure out the real reason, we need to conduct in-depth analysis and plan a long term vision. just blaming all over the place will not solve our chronic issue.

Khan Jun 23, 2013 07:59pm

Punjabi bureucracy and politicians have destroyed all institutions in Pakistan due to their biased mindset and favouritism.. Jaag punjabi Jaag too neih Pakistan ko laga dia hai daag.

MANU Jun 23, 2013 08:26pm

@Pakistini Fan: HA HA

MANU Jun 23, 2013 08:25pm

ha ha

N. Khan Jun 23, 2013 08:32pm

Mr. Masud Alam, your comments score a lot of good points about Cricket Pakistan. However, you and countrymen's harping about Misbah is unfair. People like you want to pull down whoever achieves. That is in your genes. Misbah is the only player who have steadied your team and have played the best of all his team mates in the Champion's Trophy. When he is gone you will rue your words. Cut out the deadwood and bless those who perform.

(Dr.) B.N. Anand Jun 23, 2013 08:55pm

Sir, you could have given the example of our country as to how our cricket team has been overhauled and that there is no Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir, yuvraj and many other like them. They were dropped despite their carrying big names and past records simply because of non performance and ageing. Our team looks young and because of exposure looks quite competitive. Pakistan has to move on from Afridi, Shoaib , Akmals etc. and hunt for new talent. Surely, if this done honestly, Pakistan can still be big force to reckon in world cricket.

aisha Jun 23, 2013 09:19pm

Misbah needs to be played as a batsmen only, because if he can select the likes of shoaib malik after repeated failures, then he is not a good captain.

ailly Jun 24, 2013 12:49am

Masud Alam, nice column to read on, for frustrated and pure-cricket lovers hoping against hope that cricket in our country will be same at par with old winning days. Just a dream, we are livid with so called 'talent" which every tom, dick and harry claims ( on papers only ) is in abundance in this country, but when this talent will be brought in day-light ?. Such columns are nostalgic for a wide range of cricket lovers, who like players from Hanif Mohammad to Afridi encompassing all greats in the same arc. Wow. One wonders what appetite do we have for cricket. Is it T20s, ODIs or Tests or all forms of cricket.

I don't know either you could not muster enough courage during last govt's or Musharraf's era or just found your feet after Champion's Trophy shameful debacle which prompted you for this article.

I would suggest PCB needs some one like Nur Khan to run the affairs, with an iron-fist, a true die hard Pakistani who was adamant and stubborn to see only green-flag flying high on victory podium, be it hockey or cricket. His passion for towering and clossal; victory no matter what.

Would suggest ( what else we can do ) for very near future, need to move without Afridis, Akmals ( all of them ), Farhats and trust me even Hafeez is no more an automatic choice any more where serious cricket is concerned. We should persist with new players, new team, why are we scared .... anyways we losing everywhere in presence of above mentioned few shameless and brain-less players. So try out new PCB chairman, the one who should be clear in his mind and let professional cricketers run the show. We should not meddle the selection at the hands of non-cricketing brains and please root-out this foreign coach dilemma from our cricket. We don't need a foreign coach.

Emm Jun 24, 2013 01:50am

Take it easy. We certainly need some re-shuffling but don't really want to get rid of every one. No knee jerk reactions please. Don't forget we beat India quite convincingly in India just a few months back. Having said all of this I can't see Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and a few others still being there.

Abbas Khan Jun 24, 2013 02:31am

I think India and the corrupted IPL is the reason why Pakistan Cricket is in shambles today. No matter how hard Pakistan tries it is always dragged down by the corrupt infidels across the border.

rezz Jun 24, 2013 03:37am

@Pakistini Fan: I agree. Shoaib is better than Raina. Farhat is better than Kohli. Misbah is better than MSD and Queen Elizabeth is the queen of China.

Saud Khan Jun 24, 2013 03:50am

The biggest problem for the Pakistan cricket team is that their first priority is to they play whole 50 overs, it doesn't matter if the run rate is going upto 2 or 2.5 per over. This is the main problem which takes them onto the back foot and at the end neither they can't able to make runs nor they can't survive the slow over rate pressure and get out well before the 50 overs. I don't think so we should blame the techniques or capabilities of each players because these are actually the players who have done well for the team in past and hopefully could do in the future as well. This is just simply a defensive captaincy approach nothing than else.

Chandu Jun 24, 2013 04:28am

Pakistan needs to have a serious overhaul in their Cricket Team .. a weak performance just demeaned their entire participation in the game .. they lost all matches and came last amongst the 8 nations. Someone needs to lead from the front with a strong Captain .. one bad series does not mean a weak team .. but repeat poor performance over a period of time shows the Team lacks substance. Don't blame the Coach .. you can have Lawson, Whatmore or any of them .. basic corrupted players and selectors have to change their ways. Imran, was the best Captain .. so was Akram .. after that I don't think Pakistan has had a good Leader who led from the front. Unite the team and play as a unit .. not as individuals,

Chandu Jun 24, 2013 04:32am

@Pakistini Fan: Get real pal .. don't dream in the daytime.

Chandu Jun 24, 2013 04:48am

Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq and Mohd Hafeez .. should be immediately replaced by new talent.They are old horses and cannot do anything for Pakistan now. None of them are match winners in recent years. .. there time is gone.

Pakistani fan's fan Jun 24, 2013 05:24am

@Pakistini Fan: and if we loose we will say match was 'fixed'...

farid Jun 24, 2013 05:54am

Pakistan should stop playing cricket, a game of British royalties , lords and dukes. Pakistan is a third world country and should prioritise its needs. The same apply to another third world country called India. Think of food, shelter, education and health first brother.

ts Jun 24, 2013 08:16am

india had also undergone similar low in the recent past with successive losses in england, australia and again in india against england, against pak in india. so they decided to say thank you to legends like sachin, dravid,laxman,shewag and gambhir. and see what india has got in return!! so the pak should also say thank you to the legends and bring in fresh blood. and yes you need a captain like imran, if that is not possible try at least like a dhoni captain. things will work out soon!

Asif Jun 24, 2013 09:57am

@XL: People like Pakistini Fan and yourself suffer from immature display of over patriotism. Pakistini Fan is wrong when he says that Pakistani team is far better than India. You are also going overboard by implying that Pakistan have to wait a century to beat India. To keep things in perspective, only recently Pakistan beat India in the ODI series in India and overall they have a much better record head to head in ODIs. I think India is a good team, not a great team and good luck to them. Even with a weak batting line-up the difference between Indian and Pakistani teams is not wide. Pakistan only need a couple of good batsmen and they will catch up. Relax and take it easy. BTW congratulations on India winning the Champions Trophy.

Mike Jun 24, 2013 10:13am

After all is "Said & Done" you will still see Kamran Akmal,Shoaib Malik,Imran Farhat,Hafeez,etc till they turn 65 years in age,which will be in less than 15 years. I refuse to believe Misbah,Hafeez,Younus,Saeed Ajmal are in their 30's. Either they are lying Blatantly about their age or they have "GENETIC DISORDER".

ailly Jun 24, 2013 01:22pm

All those comments are published which are in praise of writer or in confirmation to so called 'writer's' line.... hail democracy which now even reflecting in newspaper.

Ebrahim Tily Jun 24, 2013 02:03pm

@(Dr.) B.N. Anand: You are right but what we are lacking is honesty plus Cricketers with backings from influential people are deprying genuine talents to be inducted in Team Pakistan. Let us hope the new Interim Chairman of PCB takes note of the situation and honestly gets the Selection Committee.

Awadh Nrayan Dubey Jun 24, 2013 02:12pm

I agree with the opinion of Masood Alam. Its pain full to see a team loosing all the games in tournament. Although I am an Indian , But, have been always admirer of Pakistan's cricket team. Recently the team has lost the charm , otherwise to watch India and Pakistan match was a pleasure. I wish and hope the team will again achieve its glory.

Kalimullah Jun 24, 2013 02:19pm

@Aun Ali: I write the same thing but people don't like merit that is why i got 50% yes and 50% no.

mohammad iqbal Jun 24, 2013 03:56pm

our cricket is in a similar state like our country. Controlled by many who are not at all concerned with cricket.

Raj Jun 24, 2013 04:15pm

Considering everyones likes and dislikes we wont have a team at all. I feel the team and management needs a good trimimng like we do to plants.

raj Jun 24, 2013 05:14pm

i dreamt that pakistan will find some one great future cricketer like sachin tendulkar and his name will starts from ''S'' he will be the great for next generation ...if its true please make sure remember me....

IA Jun 24, 2013 05:20pm

@rezz: just to complete your sentance, you mean 'Queen Elizabeth II' is the queen of China!

Hash Jun 24, 2013 05:39pm

Mr. Masud Alam, a very well written piece i must say. The inclusion of politics in sports isn't something hidden or something that has just started. Yes, I completely agree with the idea of de-politicizing the game but same i can say for everything in the country. Now, the acting chairman, Mr. Najam Sethi, has little or no experience whatsoever in the very industry. This joke of a decision has to be mended ASAP.

To most readers reading the article and commenting on it : The best 14 selected for most series/tournies are more or less the same faces that we see every now and then. What Pakistan requires is a complete transformation and revival from the grass root level in the very sport. The second thing is to remove the quota system of selection, if there is any; and an independent panel of selectors throughout which anyone with political affiliation has to be discredited. The corruption goes very deep with many secretaries to secretaries, getting paid ridiculous amounts of money, churning the very game into some sort of dirty corrupt pharmaceutical scam. Get a life! Put the country first before your petty interests

Naeem Syed Jun 24, 2013 05:47pm

There is just too much truth in this article and in the comments that followed. I love cricket and at my ripe young age of 71 i need to add a few words my self to the world of Cricket. Dream Teams are built on Talent,attitude,Team spirit where the players follow the Captains vision of the game.Leave politics aside, look at the teams under Kardar, Imran, and Afridi yes Afridi,they did not win every match but the put the thrill of competition,Country's Honor, and the pride of the game first before personal ambitions. These were the gentlemen of the game. What happened in the locker room to Afridi's fearless team before the final match with India, was there politics at work,or Money, or what ? The only thing we found out was that the only player who was playing was Afridi himself.

We rely too much on outsiders too much to select our talent and teams. let the PCB set aside a few Crores and have an IPL style competition in Pakistan with huge cash prizes and positions in the Provincial and National teams. Get some of our Businessmen,Industrialists, Landlords to participate put some effort int creating a competitive atmosphere where every one has equal opportunity to show their worth. Put on cricketing talent events that would eclipse the Idol shows.The talent is out there, they cannot get to you unless you open the doors. The PCB is a bunch of Babu's on an ego trip, not one of them has the National interest at heart. Mr. Sethi, you and your "Chiria" need to shake this tree hard, get rid of this stagnant old guard, send all those in the PCB buildings home in mass today and lets get on with building a new team under a charismatic leader like Afridi. He is not supposed to carry the team but he most certainly puts life pack in the game the moment he steps on to the green in the stadium.

Naeem Syed Jun 24, 2013 05:49pm

There is just too much truth in this article and in the comments that followed. I love cricket and at my ripe young age of 71 i need to add a few words my self to the world of Cricket. Dream Teams are built on Talent,attitude,Team spirit where the players follow the Captains vision of the game.Leave politics aside, look at the teams under Kardar, Imran, and Afridi yes Afridi,they did not win every match but the put the thrill of competition,Country's Honor, and the pride of the game first before personal ambitions. These were the gentlemen of the game. What happened in the locker room to Afridi's fearless team before the final match with India, was there politics at work,or Money, or what ? The only thing we found out was that the only player who was playing was Afridi himself.

We rely too much on outsiders too much to select our talent and teams. let the PCB set aside a few Crores and have an IPL style competition in Pakistan with huge cash prizes and positions in the Provincial and National teams. Get some of our Businessmen,Industrialists, Landlords to participate put some effort int creating a competitive atmosphere where every one has equal opportunity to show their worth. Put on cricketing talent events that would eclipse the Idol shows.The talent is out there, they cannot get to you unless you open the doors. The PCB is a bunch of Babu's on an ego trip, not one of them has the National interest at heart. Mr. Sethi, you and your "Chiria" need to shake this tree hard, get rid of this stagnant old guard, send all those in the PCB buildings home in mass today and lets get on with building a new team under a charismatic leader like Afridi. He is not supposed to carry the team but he most certainly puts life pack in the game the moment he steps on to the green in the stadium.

j k sinha Jun 24, 2013 06:39pm

Really enjoyed going through your blog. Politicians in this sub continent have infiltrated sports bodies like cancer cells. Hope somebody, who has authority, goes through your article and takes the necessary step even at this late stage to boldly act.Dr J K Sinha, Hyderabad, India

haris Jun 24, 2013 08:06pm

@Mike: Misbah is 39 years old and Saeed Ajmal is 36 years old. Younus is turning to 35. I think your mind is too young and perhaps stop growing after 5 years of your age.

haris Jun 24, 2013 08:07pm

@Chandu: Asad Shafiq has the best batting avg. in entire current team. Get your facts straight.

Azim Jun 24, 2013 09:06pm


You wrote every thing to fix cricket but forgot to write it is about Punjab XI, not Pakistan XI. Hopefully, you will address this in the future articles.

Thanks Azim

(Dr.) B.N. Anand Jun 24, 2013 10:58pm

@Emm: Yes Mmm we only after that , when you beat us in India, overhauled our team and gave it new look by bringing in new young players who did not have much international exposure but we showed faith in them. We learnt our lessons but sadly not your board. BNA

Nazir A.Qureshi Jun 25, 2013 12:06am

Cricket is a symbol of colonialism, now we are free country not subjects of Her Highness. We should be ashamed of playing this game. What I know from my childhood this is the game of rich and spoiled elites of Pakistan and is not the game of common people of Pakistan. It is a very good time to abandon this game for ever and feel proud to be free people of the world.

XL Jun 25, 2013 12:44am

@Asif: Sir you misunderstood my comment. Its not that Pakistan can't beat India on a given day, its the consistency of the team, the aura, like which Australia had in the 90s and 2000s is what I was talking about. The state in which Pakistan is at present, looks atleast a decade away to achieve it. Take hyperboles a sarcasm. Today India is anytime better than Pakistan, is what I meant. Team India was low no morale by the drubbing they got in England, Australia and in the home series, thats where a in between hurriedly put up tour of Pakistan distracted them (not taking credit away from Pakistan) Best wishes

syed-s Jun 25, 2013 05:34am

Keel them aall.

syed-s Jun 25, 2013 05:37am

@IA: No, she is the queen of Brazil.

wahab Jun 25, 2013 06:10am

@raj how about shoaib the rawalpindi express he made the great crickter tremble clean bowled him on the very first ball that he ever bowled at him and he owned him 10 times out of 17 times he played against him no need to remember you

Kirkety MohMadu Jun 25, 2013 09:45am

Ek Naya Ghalibi kirketi sher Arj hai: Hai re hai Kirket ne kiya Nikamma warana ham bhi the kuch kaam ke kuch naam ke.

Romans also used to have bloody gladiator games to entertain consumerist, completely idiotized self-enslaved masses. That is how loot and plunder can go on by few. Kirket has not improved athletic abilities of common Ramu or Abdul, he is a pot bellied bum. Kirket is new ganja or opium imposed on masses so that they can be easily fooled and exploited.

Attaullah Jun 25, 2013 10:15am

I wanna add one more thing here that can anybody tell me. Can u find any sindhi or balochi in the team of pakistan and everybody call this pakistani team. There is not any single sindi or balochi player in the sindh and balochistanwho can compete and play well but not in the cricket only in other games as well. Note that in the history of all games.

Punjabis always talks on equalities and rights.

Saqib Ahmed Jun 25, 2013 11:26am

Ban cricket for 10 years. Exit ICC and accumulate new countries to form new Cricketing Council. It is obvious now that how ICC use players for match fixing. And all teams around the world are involve in fixing. So, we should be the first one to exit this game of mockery. Stop fooling with nations money and pride

Qaiser Mehmood Jun 25, 2013 02:21pm

Great article written by you, Masud Alam. Pakistan Cricket needs people like you to improve the cricketing structure. Thanks alot and keep it up

Qaiser Mehmood Jun 25, 2013 02:24pm

@haris: well said about Asad Shafiq. I think he should be allowed to play continuously and then you can see his performance will boost.

Parvez Naushahi Jun 25, 2013 09:08pm

@Attaullah: I 100% agree with brave Atta. My suggestionis that no Pak team should be announced with out at least one Balochi & one Sindhi player, what is called support players. They should be best from Baloch's & Sindhi's, may not good to play Intnl games, but certainly can play side games & travel with Intnl players. This policy continue till they are groomed to be selected on merit.

Parvez Naushahi Jun 25, 2013 09:12pm

I 100% agree with brave Atta. Sports Authorities in Pak should bring Balochi & Sindhi players from poor places to National Academies & send them with teams as well to as mandatory members till they are groomed to be selected on merit.

Nasr Jun 25, 2013 09:30pm

Very True

Witvicky Jun 25, 2013 10:34pm

@Abbas Khan: LoL mate..LoL

Mohammed Ibrahim Jun 26, 2013 12:25pm

My dream team would be : Imran Nazeer, Nasir Jemshad, M.Hafeez, M.ul haq, Shahid Afridi(C), U.Akmal(WK), H.Azam, Y.Khan, A.Razzaq, S.Ajmal, M.Irfan, Junaid Khan, W.Riaz, U.Gul, T.Umar I selected this team bcz of some genuine reasons. As we need blasting opening we need I.nazeer. Umar Akmal is the future player for this team so we need him by replacing his bro. We need Abdul razzaq bcz of his seniority and clearing the distances at any time. Y.Khan bcz of his standing capacity and scoring runs at any time. And I mention Afridi as a captain bcz he lead the team well in world cup eventhough the team was suffering from the spotfixing rumours and as a captain he scored two consecutive centuries in asia cup and two consecutive 50's in t-20 world cup so he is the best choice for captaincy

Mohammed Ibrahim Jun 26, 2013 12:28pm

@Naeem Syed: ur right dude

xyz Jun 26, 2013 11:37pm

@farid: of course, india still is a third world country, but cant consider alongside pakistan