The pattern of the way Pakistan plays its cricket seldom changes, not even in the ongoing World Cup where they have been struggling to improve their ranking. A victory against England and the one against South Africa last Sunday has kept their aspirations at a thin edge but that is not good enough to be anywhere near to going up the ladder.
Despite their six drop catches, the win against South Africa at Lord’s last Sunday offer them a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. But that could only be materialised if they win rest of the three matches including one against New Zealand today at Edgbaston.
The Kiwis are a tough customer in this competition and they have proved it so thus far. With one of the best batsmen in their ranks in Captain Kane Williamson, and the experienced Ross Taylor and dashing Martin Guptill in supporting cast coupled with an impressive bowling attack, New Zealand has a team which can win the World Cup.
Pakistan would find it tough. However, in a game of one-day cricket even the unfancied team can pose problems and if they do with bat and ball, their way to another success may open up. Let us hope they do well.
This brings me to the subject of rumour-mongering about dissensions within the team and the player-grouping. All of a sudden I find that all these seasonal gossipers have vanished and are now hiding from the public view for giving a bad name to the team after the India defeat. I would like to ask just where are these rumour-mongers now? Not uttering even a single word about the infighting within the team. But then, you never know, they may yet start again if Pakistan fail to perform against the Kiwis. That sort of behaviour is surely lamentable.
Let us accept the fact that we as a team are not playing to the potential that we have. All of a sudden there is this slide down for whatever reason.
What also worries me is the fact their coach Mickey Arthur - from time to time - comes out with strange statements, even mind-boggling ones which may not do any good to the morale of the team that has already been struggling to find its feet.
His recent and extremely irresponsible utterance that he felt like ‘committing suicide’ after losing to India has started to bother me a lot. That explains his state of mind, that in difficult times he is psychologically under a lot of strain, so much so as to even consider suicide. That certainly does not do any good to lift the spirits of a sagging team.
This also takes me back to 2007 World Cup in the West Indies when the then coach of Pakistan, Bob Woolmer, was found dead in his hotel room after the first round shock defeat to Ireland. All kinds of stories floated around; suicide, terrorism and all that. But the fact of the matter was that he died a natural death. A compulsive drinker, patient of diabetes and suffering from obesity, Woolmer’s health condition deteriorated after the shock defeat and that caused his untimely demise.
Now when Mickey has indicated to a suicidal tendency, he should better be in control of what he says or do or else he shouldn’t be allowed to attend media briefings. That is what I at least of think of his unwarranted statement.
At Edgbaston today I hope the Head Coach is in a better frame of mind to not humiliate himself or the team.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019