Defeats have made it clear that there are issues within the team
Pakistan's cricket team has been performing well under the leadership of Babar Azam for quite some time now. After years, we got new superstars, and this equally boosted team's confidence. However, it also had its own drawbacks.
The cricketers' fan following increased, and any slight criticism from you on social media puts you in the spotlight. Their agents start trending things. Players became so influential that they started dictating the rules and regulations of the central contracts to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The World Cup is approaching, and the authorities didn't want to upset anyone, so they continued listening to their demands.
Then came the 2023 Asia Cup match where India achieved a record victory against Pakistan by 228 runs on September 10. The defeat against Sri Lanka and the elimination from the final highlighted more shortcomings of the national team.
Babar Azam is a superstar for Pakistan, having achieved many feats as a batsman. He has excelled as a captain as well, but criticisms were raised for his decisions in the Asia Cup. Particularly, fielding and the use of bowlers were highlighted as his weaknesses.
After the last match of Asia Cup, it was reported that a heated argument took place between Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam. However, sources inside the national team revealed that it was just a discussion about the match. Nevertheless, the board is puzzled about how dressing room conversations are being leaked, and some investigations revealed Imam-ul-Haq's name.
If this is indeed the case, he should be cautious because if the board takes action, even the influential Chief Selector might not be able to save him. Moreover, Imam becoming unfit on important occasions has left officials surprised.
Unmasking the mystery in the dressing room 🕵️♀️🔍— Cricket Pakistan (@cricketpakcompk) September 20, 2023
Who is leaking dressing room secrets? 🤔
‘Doesn’t matter if it is someone’s nephew, this sort of behavior should not be tolerated’#SecretsRevealed #WhosTheCulprit @saleemkhaliq pic.twitter.com/fqpHsjgcuK
Defeats have made it clear that there are issues within the team. Authorities should take immediate action, or else 'World Cup of Captaincy' may jeopardize the real ICC World Cup.
Some statements about the players have also surfaced, indicating that their performance was affected due to conflicts regarding the central contract. If cricket is to prosper, the focus should remain on the game. If players perform well, they should be rewarded accordingly in terms of remuneration and recognition.
Najam Sethi's suggestion of hybrid model for Asia Cup has also created issues. The players were exhausted from travel, and due to uncertain weather, the crowd turnout was low. Pakistan will receive far less revenue from fan attendance compared to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government will deduct taxes separately.
Now it seems that it would have been better if this year's Asia Cup wasn't held. For the World Cup, players should be given ample confidence so that positive results can be achieved. Most importantly, team matters should improve so that we don't face a situation like the Asia Cup in the World Cup.