With all due respect to ODIs and Test matches, the year belongs to T20 cricket. The 7th edition of the T20 World Cup is months away and the teams are already busy scheduling their preparation charts to increase their winning chances in the event. Moreover, the fans are also eagerly waiting for the mouth-watering clashes between the top-ranked sides including Pakistan who are currently leading the T20I team rankings.
A year ago, the Pakistan team created history by winning 11 consecutive T20 bilateral series. At the time, the Men in Green looked invincibles and the cricketing community termed them hot-favourites to win the upcoming T20 championship.
Fast-forward to 2020, the situation has changed drastically as now the team is on a losing streak. They have lost eight of their last 10 T20Is and looks vulnerable in every department. Hence, it is highly unlikely that they will lift their second T20 title later in Australia.
Here is the list of 5 reasons why No.1 ranked Pakistan team will not win the T20 World Cup :
1. Inexperienced batting line-up
Even though most of the Asian cricketing teams are part of the Indian sub-continent there is a big difference in the cricketing culture of each of these countries. For instance, the Indian team is known for its batting muscle whereas the Pakistan team is known for its bowling strength. Particularly the latter has historically struggled to produce enough batting resources to complement their world-class bowling stocks.
Even now, the Men in Green are facing the same situation in their lead up to the T20 World Cup. Having a close look at their recent numbers one can clearly point out that the Pakistan team has one of the weakest batting line-ups. Except for Babar Azam, not a single batsmen has been performing consistently as only 4 half-centuries have been recorded by the other players in the last 10 T20Is.
Moreover, the average of their top-five batsmen in these games is 19.5 which is not the kind of contribution a team expects from their top-order batsmen. On top of that, their World Cup squad will not have a batsman who has played the last edition of the T20 championship. So there is every possibility that their batting unit will buckle under the pressure as most of them have not played an event of this magnitude in the past.
2. Lack of leadership in the group
Although the Pakistan team received a pasting from Australia under their newly appointed T20 skipper, Babar Azam the PCB did the right thing by changing the leadership of the group. However, they also made a wrong decision in the form of dropping senior players like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed. So it means that the team management and the selectors are banking on their youngsters for future assignments including for the upcoming T20 carnival.
Though it is a step in the right direction, the plan might backfire in multi-nation tournaments as Babar is new to the captaincy role. At the moment, he needs good support from his surroundings. Especially the players who have been playing the game for a long time and has a past experience of leading the side. Their presence will help him in handling dicey situations which is common in events like the World Cup.
Besides, it will also allow him to focus more on his batting as his form is essential if the team has to do well in the tournament. Having said that, he will not be enjoying that part as apart from Mohammed Amir and Imad Wasim there are not many in the team who has played enough T20Is. In addition to that, most of them are new to the team so they will be learning from him rather than helping him. In the end, it can be said that Babar has very few numbers to dial if receives an SOS message.
3. Weak core
One of the biggest aspects of any Pakistan team is its unpredictability factor. Though sometimes it works in their favour, it doesn’t hide the fact that they have hardly played an ICC event with a settled unit. Most of the times the skipper of the team is provided with a bunch of players who may or may not be ready for the bigger cricketing challenges. Thereafter the teams suffer due to lack of planning and poor decision-making skills.
Such untoward situations arise when the team management and selectors lack confidence in their key players. As a result, their core becomes unstable before a big tournament and it seems that the history will repeat in this year’s T20 championship. In simple terms, the team is again uncertain about its first-choice 15-member squad for the World Cup and it is evident from their recent chop and change.
In the last 4 bilateral series, the team has used as many as 25 options. Apart from the likes of Babar Azam, Imad Wasim, and Shadab Khan, nobody seems to have nailed down their spot in the playing XI. So its high time that the Pakistan team should fix their core around which they should build their team for the championship. Otherwise, it will create doubts among players and they will unable to play freely due to the fear of getting dropped after a couple of failures.
4. Sloppy fielding unit
In the 2019 World Cup, the Pakistan team was roasted extensively for their poor on-field performances. Especially their fielding bloopers became a standing joke for the cricketing fraternity as they dropped more than 15 catches in the entire tournament. Even their home fans criticized them for their shoddy fitness levels.
It reached a point where the head coach, Misbah-ul-Haq changed the diet plans of the players. Still, it didn’t turn out to be fruitful as the team continued their mistakes on the field in their recent trip to Down Under. Overthrows, dropped catches, silly run-out misses the team ticked off all the wrong boxes and it further intensified the heat surrounding their sloppy fielding.
So now the team management has their task cut out to make this group a decent fielding unit before their next sojourn to Australia. At the moment it seems next to impossible as all the players will have to start from scratch and such a process takes time. Fielding will be an extremely important facet on the bigger grounds of Australia but Pakistan is way behind their preparations.
5. Faulty pace battery
There was a time when the Pakistan team won games just based on their bowling might. Particularly such was the aura of their pace bowling that the opposing teams couldn’t stand its vigour in their prime. However, things have changed in recent times as now the country’s fast-bowling unit has lost its charm. A month ago the cricketing pundits slammed Pakistan’s pacers after their forgetful outings against Australia.
Even after having some of the most exciting fast-bowling prospects in the form of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain the team has failed to deliver on its promise. To be precise their pace attack has accounted for mere 23 wickets in the last 10 T20Is and that too with an economy rate of 9.5. Those numbers will not be enjoyed by the fans who have grown up seeing the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
One of the reasons for the recent downfall of their pace attack is the hierarchical problems in the country’s cricket structure. In the last couple of years, not a single pacer has been highlighted as the leader of their fast-bowling group. Besides the team has also fielded a different set of pacers in every new series. So now their pace battery has turned into a faulty system as it is draining and charging at the same time.
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