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How the PCB ruined Pakistan T20 World Cup 2024 campaign

By Akanksha - June 16, 2024 - Last updated on Jun 16, 2024 04:30 PM
How the PCB ruined Pakistan T20 World Cup 2024 campaign

2022 Runner-ups Pakistan was eliminated from the T20 World Cup 2024 during the group round. Pakistan, which had come into the competition with a lot of drama, was eliminated in agony after rain washed out the Group A match between the United States and Ireland in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday, June 14.

Famous for some fantastic luck in the ICC tournaments - commonly known as 'Qudrat ka Nizam' - everything appeared to have gone tragically wrong for Pakistan, with even the rain Gods abandoning the team's cause. Fans and former Pakistan players have lambasted skipper Babar Azam for the team's poor performance in the World Cup. To be fair, Pakistan fell to the USA in their tournament opener, a side competing in the T20 World Cup for the first time.

Despite spectacular bowling performances in New York, the squad fell against India. The game marked a new low for Pakistan, as they failed to chase down the goal after bowling out Rohit Sharma's team for 119 runs.

Mohsin Naqvi, head of the Pakistan Cricket Board, talked informally to the media at the Nassau County Stadium in New York, making a bold statement: it was time for him to do major surgery in Pakistan cricket.

Here's The Reasons

World Cup 2023 Chaos

Pakistan cricket was in a slump following their group-stage defeat in the ODI World Cup 2023. Babar Azam was fired by the Pakistan Cricket Board, which was led by Zaka Ashraf, after taking the team to the semi-finals and finals of two T20 World Cups in succession. To phrase it politically politely, Babar Azam 'left' leadership, and Shaheen Shah Afridi took over in white-ball forms.

Along with Babar, the Pakistan coaching staff was dismissed. Mohammad Hafeez became the cricket director, while Wahab Riaz was designated head of the selection committee. The PCB was so concerned about their image at the time that they recruited Salman Butt as Wahab Riaz's adviser, only to fire him within hours of the announcement.

These were the first symptoms of PCB turning back on their pledge, the second they realised public sentiment was against them.

'Salman Butt is not on any PCB panels. For me, he is a terrific cricketing mind who knows the game and has covered domestic cricket for the previous 2-3 years. He was appointed as my consultant just to obtain his view, based on which some media outlets and individuals began spreading lies,' Wahab was reported as saying in a news conference.

'As a chief selector, I decide who will work with me and what help I require. However, people began debating nepotism and dosti, so I am reconsidering this choice. I've already spoken with Salman Butt and informed him that he cannot be a member of my squad,' he said at the time.

Australia Tour and Sacking of Mohammad Hafeez

A brand-new Pakistani squad went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, led by Shan Masood in Test cricket and Shaheen Shah Afridi in ODIs and T20Is. Pakistan suffered heavy losses in both series.

Australia, the reigning world champions, defeated the Test squad, while Pakistan, playing against New Zealand in the T20I series, fell 4-1 on the road under Shaheen's leadership. Two weeks after the last Twenty20 International of this series was played on January 21, the PCB saw yet another leadership upheaval. With the appointment of Mohsin Naqvi as the 37th chairman of the board, Pakistan once more descended into the same maze.

In an ideal world, a team would prefer to offer consistency to its players only three months before the T20 World Cup. But Naqvi believed that firing Shaheen as captain and bringing back Babar would be the wisest course of action. Without Babar, Pakistan would struggle to come up with ideas for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

Even worse, Naqvi also fired Mohammad Hafeez, who amassed around 8,000 runs in his career and was regarded as one of the T20 league's most illustrious players.

The former all-rounder for Pakistan, who pledged to expose the squad led by Babar Azam, blasted them on national television, claiming that the team had not put any emphasis on fitness under Babar or former coach Mickey Arthur.

Hafeez's outburst came in response to criticism of Pakistan's fielding abilities and propensity for injuries from cricket fans.

"I instructed the guys to look after their fitness levels when we travelled to Australia. I also inquired about the athletes' level of fitness from the trainer. He shockingly revealed to me that six months prior, Mickey Arthur, the Director of Cricket, and captain Bobby Azam had instructed me to cease monitoring the players' fitness levels and to allow them to play as they pleased, Mohammad Hafeez had stated on A Sports.

"All of the players had high skin fold percentages when their fat levels were examined; for the majority, this was 1.5 times the upper limit. Some of them were unable to finish a two-kilometre trial run, making them unsuitable. The judgement made six months ago superseded the established fitness standards. If the fitness is so bad, you will lose games," Mohammad Hafeez had said on the show.

Failed to lead

babar azam

Image Source: Twitter

The supporters of Pakistan cricket have criticised the team for its antiquated methods. He and Mohammad Rizwan anchored at the top under Babar, while Pakistan puffed and puffered to totals of 160–170. Then, they would be counting on their elite bowling assault to step up and save the squad from impending doom.

PCB had an opportunity to right the ship, but they once more supported Babar and Rizwan to begin the batting and delegated cleanup duties to others once the openers' mess was created.

Hesitant support was given to individuals such as Saim Ayub, Azam Khan, and Muhammad Haris. Their failure would result in their dismissal from the team, but Rizwan's and Babar's subpar performances in crucial games went unnoticed.

Also Read: Who is The Top 10 Most Searched Cricketer on Google?

Surgery Needed?

Mohsin Naqvi, the chairman of the PCB, is correct when he says that Pakistan's cricket culture needs surgery. The surgery must begin at the bottom and end at the top, where decision-makers in government make their judgements.

The Pakistani cricket player with the most T20 runs, Shoaib Malik, claimed that up-and-coming players lacked match knowledge in the local competitions. Shoaib contended that this resulted from choosing the incorrect players. He said that although Pakistan did not lack skill, players were being chosen based on their likes and dislikes as well as their ties.

A significant challenge lies ahead for the PCB and Pakistan cricket stakeholders.

The T20 World Cup 2024 is undoubtedly a sad time for the squad since they were previously independent of the weather and the performances of other teams to advance to the tournament's later rounds. PCB specifically has to reevaluate its organisational structure, putting aside its own goals and interests.

Due to the fact, as the renowned Wasim Akram stated during one of his tearful outbursts during the Twenty20 World Cup,

Pakistan's next ICC competition, which will be hosted domestically, is over a year away. Three months out from the World Cup, it will be up to PCB and Mohsin Naqvi to put together a contemporary side with a modern mindset that doesn't train in an army post.

Also Read: 5 associate team players of T20 World Cup IPL franchises must buy

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