Pakistan following the old script again

Criticism, but positive one, is imperative when someone wants to grow, and this time Pakistan will have to swallow this bitter pill, once again

Pakistan following the old script again PHOTO COURTESY: ACC

The age old adage that people never change held true once again when Pakistan entered the ongoing Asia Cup.

Criticism, but positive one, is imperative when someone wants to grow, and this time Pakistan will have to swallow this bitter pill, once again.

Shoaib Malik was the man of the day when Sarfraz and co left the ground against Afghanistan, but individual heroics can’t endure long.

Pakistan have always had problems when asked to bat deep and Asia Cup once again made them vulnerable, with the 2019 World Cup fast approaching.

Pakistan’s Champions Trophy win, when dissected, showed their bowling was backed up by a consistent batting lineup. One which didn’t wither when push came to shove, but they once again seem to turn back to the old script.

Hong Kong was an easy task for Pakistan, but come the marquee India encounter, Pakistan’s batting lineup trembled once a couple of wickets fell.

The problem wasn’t that the two openers got out quickly; it was when Malik and Babar Azam left the crease.

No other Pakistan batsman was able to build on the foundation that the duo had set in place.

Then came the spirited Afghans, a team which had already beaten the likes of Sri Lanka and then Bangladesh, and Pakistan turned it into a task too difficult for them.

Fakhar Zaman left the crease early courtesy a bad call by his partner Imamul Haq, who suggested against reviewing the LBW decision. If Imam would have been looking closely, the ball had hit Fakhar way outside the off-stump, but experience is the name of the game and Imam showed how much he lacked in it.

Babar and Imam then set up a partnership, keep replaying the Malik-Babar partnership in the backdrop, and pulled Pakistan out of an adverse situation, but what happened next was once again a sign of how weak Pakistan are when it comes to staying on the crease and simultaneously scoring runs.

Thanks to Malik’s ‘experience’ Pakistan didn’t fall when they were supposed to, after such an immature response to such an achievable target, but constantly relying on a single man to save the day and that too in a team game is never the right way forward.

After Pakistan’s new and favoured guns, Faheem Ashraf and Asif Ali, and their old but underutilised weapons, Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Sohail, have misfired consistently, the call to include Mohammad Hafeez, who brings in vast experience of faring well in the UAE, also now attracts legibility.

The world has its eyes on the Asia Cup just to measure the challenge the teams from the region will pose in the upcoming 50-over World Cup, and if Pakistan keep playing like this, their opponents will have their plans ready to target our weak middle and lower-order.

Pakistan now face India in the Super Four round; a rare but scrumptious sight for cricket lovers across the globe, but a big question stares them right in the face, will the Champions Trophy winners finally come to the party?