Posted by: nestaquin | February 6, 2010

Walking In Pakistani Boots

Pakistan’s tour of Australia has been, even to the most optimistic of observers, an unmitigated failure. They were unable to win a match, neither with red or white ball, their captain has been sacked, as has their chief selector, their most dynamic player was suspended and despite a couple of teenagers showing promise there are few in the squad that leave with their reputation enhanced.

Arguably, this Pakistan team could be the least competent squad seen on Australian shores in decades and that includes Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, some understrength Kiwis teams and the hapless English Test squad of 2006/07.

Although it is ridiculously easy to find fault in Pakistani cricket their poor performance shouldn’t be unexpected. Their country is experiencing an escalating guerrilla war where no-one appears safe. Schools and hospitals are becoming common targets along with the usual places like mosques, government buildings and market places.

Hundreds are randomly maimed and murdered weekly with many children and women among them, and before judgement, it is only reasonable to try and put yourself in a Pakistani cricketer’s boots and imagine the concern for friends and family not fortunate enough to be in a peaceful and prosperous place playing what is, first and foremost, a game.

There is an expectation that Pakistan will improve and provide a better contest during the return Test and limited over series in England later this year but with few matches in between, and the continuing worries about the war at home, I fear it is a forlorn hope. They are not machines and as noted above they have far more serious concerns to deal with it.

Stay Human and if you are on FaceBook join us.


  1. Indeed – the World T20 showed what could be achieved when the talents were lined up, pointing in the right direction and concentrating on the matter at hand. I’m as close to certain as I can be that Pak will be competitive in England.

  2. sorry to be spoil sports nesta… but i found your argument bit far too stretched…

    are you trying to say that a captain appointed almost all fielders on boundary for no.8 batsmen… a keeper dropped sitters after sitters… and then turning up as if they were lambs about to be slaughtered coz of what happening at their home…?

    and these are but few example when pakistan blew it spectacularly…

    • I think you may have missed the point entirely. As stated emphatically Pakistan played poorly and it would indeed be a stretch if the situation of their loved ones back home had no effect on their cricket.

      They may be international cricketers but in the end they are just like the rest of us, only human.

  3. I wanted them to win the twenty/20 and I was very disappointed that they fell apart at the end.

    • I would have been happy if they won when it first started, and was certain they would in the innings break but Australia bowled and fielded with such verve that I was caught up in the enthusiasm and found myself pumping the air with both fists when Smith, Nannes and Watson took wickets in the final five overs. I even applauded the TV when Johnson bowled his 17th over maiden.

      It was a fighting win and one that I hope they can build on. The young guys in the team will have gained plenty from that match and I can’t wait for the T20 against the Windies in Hobart in a couple of weeks.

      I won’t mind if Gayle goes ballistic in that match and we lose either.

      • The Pakistan team looked like a real team for the first time this tour and I didn’t want them to get completely whitewashed.

        But it was interesting to see a newish team with so many unknown quantities to it, I include Tait in that. I thought Pup captained very well, he was forced to attack but that may be his natural instinct anyway. It was an extremely exciting match with the bowlers on top.

        I am still shocked that anyone can bowl a maiden that late in at a 20/20 innings and more than shocked that it was MJ doing it. What a stack of contraryness he is.

        It was great fun to watch Tait. And Watson’s face when he took the slips catch off him was a gem. Can we just import Watto and White into slips for all formats?

  4. Its a difficult thing to do (putting yourself in someone else’s shoes) and I don’t know if it is entirely possible to understand what they’re going through. But then you hear some pretty stupid comments about the IPL auction and even more bigoted comments from the likes of Sohail Tanvir (and worse hear that his opinion is almost commonplace) and you have to hope that it is the unfortunate circumstances that are responsible for that. Still, just like the cricket, even if you can excuse that you wish they could rise above it and really inspire people for all the right reasons. I must admit that I too felt that their abject surrender, particularly at Sydney – though to take nothing away from Aus’s fightback – have had to do with being in a state of limbo particularly regarding captaincy. You know things are bad when the most mercurial player in the team is probably the best choice!

  5. Generally, someone else’s shoes are never an ideal fit but despite the blisters still a worthwhile exercise in compassion, empathy and understanding all the same.

  6. Nesta,

    I can understand the disappointment about Pakistan’s performance in the just concluded series.I felt for them too.

    But I don’t think we could ascribe the reason you’ve mentioned (worried about loved ones back home etc.). For you and most others living in Oz/UK, the violence you read about and see on TV must be very horrific. But for people living there, it may not be such a big deal.Life goes on, people fall in love, get married, go to the movies, and so on. In any case, the elite in Pakistan and even the urban middle class lead reasonably normal lives. The terrorist attacks have happened mostly in tribal areas, and near Military establishments.Comparatively, more number of Indian metropolitan residential and shopping areas have faced the terrorist attacks.

    Having said that, members of any touring team will be worried about their loved ones, and the stress could get to some people really badly (Tresco is an example).However, in my opinion, this Pakistani team is not averse to touring (that is their only avenue to play intl cricket).

    It is just that a combination of cricketing factors – worst fielding side in the world, young batsmen not used to playing long innings, a weak captain, and ultra-hyped, indisciplined star players – came together in this series. Yet, they had their sessions of dominance and could have won at Sydney. These whitewashes do happen in Cricket – India had one in 1999-2000, Eng had one in 2006-07 and its now Pakistan’s turn.

    I don’t think the security situation in Pakistan had any thing to do with this series defeat.Quite simply, it is lack of cricketing nous.

  7. I feel, after watching the WI in this ODI tonight, that a bit of cricketing nous wouldn’t go astray around the WI sheds, either..


    no.. more than woeful. Abysmal.

  8. How much nous does it take to not slog for the first five overs when you are chasing a smallish total?

    I know Gayle likes to impose himself, and it’s great fun when it comes off, but he isn’t playing against bowlers who are nowhere near the test team like he was in the warm-up. That was really lazy of him.

  9. He wasn’t too pleased with himself, either, Lou. Major sulk time the entire match. Particularly as the silly bugger had won the toss, then decided to field. Nutso. He likes to chase the runs, but, as everyone over the age of 5 knows, so does Ponting, Pup, Mitch, Doug, Shaun, Shane, Brad, Nathan, Mike, et al, a wierd decision , it made no sense. Punter likes it as much as he likes to set a target to chase. Gayle, out for 7, and the entire plan collapses.


    On to Adelaide.

  10. I’m sure it was a factor, Nesta, but it’s a real stretch to call it a significant one. The problems of Pakistani cricket have little to do with terrorism and much to do with ineptitude and corruption at all levels of the structure.

    Kumar, my family lives in Peshawar. I live and work in Lahore. My sisters live in Karachi and Islamabad.

    Between us, we’ve seen mosques, hospitals, schools and major markets and hotels get bombed over the last six months.

    Most of the casualties have been women and children. In some cases, they were people we knew.

    It’s true that the attacks on Indian soil have been larger in scale and generally more publicised. But it’s hard to argue that the total loss of life and material is greater. Not that one should make such a distinction, human lives being equally valuable.

  11. Goro,

    I was not comparing the victims.Of course, human lives are valuable any where. But for us sub-continentals, these have become part of the regular life.Sad, but true.

  12. I’m not sure about that. Until about a year ago, when civilians weren’t being directly targeted, going shopping didn’t feel like Russian roulette. It’s definitely gotten much worse. And it does weigh on the minds of people I know.

    But yeah, compared to people from less violent parts, I guess we’re more adapted to it by now.

    • Goro – I can, just, imagine what you mean. My sympathies for the victims you knew and I wish you, and the teeming millions of like-minded people such as yourself, well in dealing with the situation in which you find yourselves.

      I might add that I know the causes fuelling this violence are deep-seated and global, rather than simplistic and local. I won’t use Nesta’s sign off of “Be Human”, but I would echo his sentiment in knowing that the any form of normality in the region will depend on people all over the globe recognising what Mandela did – that our common humanity is greater than all our differences put together.

  13. That’s a great sentiment, tooting. Appreciated!

  14. Nesta

    Thanks for showing some compassion for our players but I regret to say I will have to disagree.
    The War is happening in a terrain on which very rarely an urban Pakistani ever sets his foot, it’s thousands of miles away along the border with Afghanistan.

    Yes terrorism is effecting people in Urban areas but that has been happening on and off since Russia invaded Afghanistan. I don’t think that the situation of the country had any bearing on the performance of the players.

    But since they are playing every game outside home that will certainly make them look bad especially when their aging middle order is completely out of form.

    Another margin which I would give them is that most of the players were playing for the first time against Australia or in Australia.

    But I don’t agree with you that we were as bad as Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. Poor fielding was the major cause of failurel, had they taken some important catches Australia would have been in Pakistan’s position in the test matches.

    It seems like for the rest of the world the heavens have fallen because Pakistan lost to Australia.

    Didn’t this same Australian team defeated India in India recently?

    I think Australia and a few other teams started the rebuilding process a little earlier, and since we haven’t played much test cricket in last two years especially against good teams we didn’t knew the real worth of some aging players they are totally exposed after the last two series. Yousaf, Younis and Misbah have very rarely lost form simultaneously usually one of them is in a good form.

    Poor management and a power struggle within the team and in the board has also played it’s role in demoralizing the team.

    An improved fielding and just two changes in the middle order can put this team back on winning track even if they play away from home.

    A few changes in the middle order is all we need.

    But despite all the odds their performance in last one year hasn’t been bad, they won the T20 Cup, reached the Semis of Champions trophy and gave tough competition to the opposition in all the test series they played regardless of the score line.

    • Wasim, really if the fielders could hold catches, it would make an enormous difference. I don’t mean to be simplistic, but the bowling attack is as good as anyone else’s around and create enough chances to be competitive.

      The team looked so good in the field in the twenty/20, I was quite peeved that the energy was missing from most of the rest of the tour games.

  15. It was only because of two reasons, in T20 there were more younger players and the captain had an option to place them strategically. In test matchs when you have to take three slips and a gully and you have three or four players whom you can’t place on boundary because they can’t run or throw you run out of options.
    If you make a list of players who dropped catches in the test matches with the exception of Kamran Akmal, and Imran Farhat the rest were not there anymore.

    Almost 30 catches were dropped in the series against New Zealand and Australia, just by improving feilding Pakistan can achieve better results.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: