Pakistan managed to win only four matches out of their nine. Afghanistan thrashed Pakistan for the first time in their brief history of the World Cup. There is a lot to discuss but this game apparently had the worst impact on team morale and discipline. Similarly, against their arch-rivals, the Pakistan team was 150-2 and suddenly they collapsed by adding forty-odd runs.
Before the World Cup began, Pakistani speed-star Naseem Shah got injured, yet the team still had the combination of Shaheen, Rauf, and Hassan Ali. Not mentioning the unavailability of a wrist spinner, especially in India’s slow pitches, is a serious oversight, considering that most teams had them in their squad. This article will briefly shed light on major factors that caused the subpar performance of the team.
Factors Causing Poor Performance
Questions started raising on Babar Azam’s captaincy after the shameful results in the Asia Cup 2023. The team got hammered by India in previous fashions, which did not let them stand up stronger. However, the team management put confidence in Babar’s skills and continued his role as a leader. Pakistan’s pace battery was considered one of the lethal attacks, but the absence of Naseem Shah had a dreadful consequence on the team’s performance. Anyhow, a team is a combination of individuals, and the absence of one player should not upset the team to this extent.
Moreover, Babar failed to judge the tense situations in high-intensity games against Australia and South Africa that cost us the game. His bowling strategy, particularly in the middle overs, contributed to the team’s disappointing performance. Babar had all the powers to select the team, yet he did not go with off-spinner and put a big responsibility of ten overs on a part-timer, Iftikhar Ahmad.
One of the best batsmen of the current era, Babar failed to shine in one of the most important tournaments, i.e. world cup. Due to captaincy burden, his own batting was below his standards, and could only manage 282 runs an average of just over 40.
On their days, Shaheen or Rauf could take on any batting line-up, but they looked ordinary in the entire campaign. With Shaheen’s lack of intent and rhythm to Rauf’s brainless pace without maintaining line and length. Adding more spice to an unfortunate pace battery, Pakistani spinners were even worse. Shadab Khan, the leading leg-spinner and Vice captain could not find line and spin in the turning tracks of India where his counterparts like Zampa, Adil Rashid, Kuldeep were spinning by feet. Instead, Pakistan had to go with another leggie, Usama Mir who was never prepared for the highest levels and did not add spark with his bowling.
Lack of Partnerships
Pakistan was 150-2 against India but they did as one would expect, humbled on 191 odd runs. Similarly, to the crunch game against Australia, Pakistan did not manage to complete 50 overs and collapsed short of runs. Pakistan Team Management has to teach players about the importance of partnerships and the rotation of strike. In any game, we did not witness a proper match-winning partnership except the one against Sri Lanka. Surprisingly, Pakistan didn’t have a powerful hitter to counter players like Pandeya, Maxwell, and Phillips.
Pakistan’s poor discipline against India was a major reason for their failure, and they hope to improve their performance against Afghanistan. Babar could have been the hero for Pakistan but his side depended upon ifs and buts and results from other games. This did not help Pakistan this time and ended in one of Pakistan’s poorest World Cup campaigns.
Players to Blame
Babar Azam: for his poor captaincy and batting performance.
Shaheen Afridi: He may have taken 18 wickets but most of his bowling was ordinary, did not judge the situation.
Haris Rauf: Without any sense, he was the poorest bowler by conceding the highest runs in the tournament history, i.e. 545.
Shadab Khan: Vulnerable to shot pitches and full tosses, the VC never bowled a single impactful delivery in the whole campaign yet no show from his batting too.
The senior players are mostly responsible for the poor performance, but they were also supported by the mediocrity of Nawaz, Saud, Imam, and Hassan Ali.
Fakhar Zaman was side-lined in the the first six games, however, he played a great century against New Zealand and kept the hopes of reaching the semis alive. Other than him, Abdullah Shafiq was one sparking factor but he also could not offer more.
Despite the challenges, we can remain hopeful that the Pakistan Cricket Team will perform well and bring happiness to their fans in the upcoming series in Australia.
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