Pakistan cricket is under the mat in the current scheme of things. The situation the men’s cricket team is in looks shabby. The jaded performance in the recently concluded Test series against New Zealand gave us glimpses of a similar Pakistan unit lost away from home. In the ICC World Test Championship, Pakistan lie sixth and are out of the reckoning. When you look at them, they are no more a top side and the manner of losses are significant to tell you the rot they are in.

Against England in 2020, Pakistan were lucky not to lose 3-0. The series hindered by rain, saw England win 1-0 instead. The visitors were on the backfoot in the other two Tests showing a bit of spark somewhere in between. In Australia, they were thrashed 2-0, with David Warner wreaking havoc in the Day-Night Test with a majestic 335*. And now in New Zealand, Kane Williamson turned out to be the thorn with scores of 129 and 238 across the two Tests.

The Pakistani outfit have themselves to blame for one poor show after the other. The batting looks feeble and players aren’t showing the determination needed to dig it out in Tests. The bowling often loses its shine after a bit of promise. Behind this sorry performance lies the management which looks clueless. Led by Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan cricket management has been poor even than the predecessor Mickey Arthur.

Several former players including Aaqib Javed lashed out at Misbah for being lost as Pakistan haven’t improved under his management. When Misbah arrived on the scene on September 4, 2019, one expected a new dimension in Pakistan’s play. However, it isn’t just in Tests but also in T20Is where the side has lost a sense of direction. Despite having the likes of Younis Khan (batting coach) and Waqar Younis (bowling coach), Pakistan’s performance factor is a problematic affair. They have also been hopeless in fielding.

After winning the ODI series at home against Sri Lanka, the former number one T20I side was blanked by the former (3-0) and Australia (2-0). They lost two Tests against Australia, before clinching the Test series against Lanka (1-0). Pakistan beat the less-fancied Bangladesh in T20Is and won the one-off Test, but issues galored when they toured England post the game’s resumption. The Test series loss was followed by a 1-1 T20I series affair. Pakistan did manage to beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in ODIs and 3-0 in T20Is, before losing the T20I series and Tests against New Zealand.

This hints at a fall. Wins against a depleted Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will not get Pakistan to the place the team wants to be. It’s time the PCB moves on from this management and gets better people guiding the side. With Misbah at the helm, the T20 World Cup in 2021 could be a distant dream for Pakistan. A new direction is needed.

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