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Once a juggernaut in global cricket, Pakistan hasn’t been greatly successful in the past decade. The last time the national team made the semifinals was in 2011, and the last (and only) trophy came under the captaincy if Imran Khan in 1992. Compared to its main rival, India, Pakistan has an underwhelming history at the World Cup. Surprisingly, the Pakistani national team beat India in October 2021 at the T20 ICC Men’s World Cup, which was the first win to ever come for the team against its rival in World Cup matches.
It was also the 200th game between them on the international stage. No one could have predicted Pakistan winning the contest – the odds at bookies such as Sportsadda.com were not great for Pakistani fans. Even the players didn’t believe they’ll win by 10 wickets, with Imad Wasim admitting that it was a near-perfect match that will be hard to replicate in the future.
While on the subject of Pakistan’s cricket future, things aren’t looking great. The team is a far cry from Imran Khan’s days as a leader. Everyone knows that unless things change immediately, Pakistan will struggle going forward. In that regard, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt says that if the country doesn’t adopt India’s new approach, the future of Pakistani cricket is in doubt.
Huge Changes in India
Seeing the team struggle, India developed a new approach that hands the reins to less experienced players as replacement for the stars. According to Butt, Pakistan needs the same approach and a three-tier system going forward. The Pakistani cricket legend says that it’s the only way to save the country’s cricket from obscurity.
India hasn’t been shy to replace stars with less experienced players. For example, Panchal was announced as a replacement for the great Rohit Sharma. He’ll have big shoes to fill, especially considering his experience of 100 first-class matches with an average of 45. Him and other new boys such as Shreyas and Agarwal will be the new face of the Indian national cricket team. All of that happened because the team believed in their qualities, and they should usher in a new age in Indian cricket.
The same thing needs to happen in Pakistan. While the team impressed against India at the World Cup, it ultimately fell to eventual champion Australia by 5 wickets in the elimination round. The team had a solid performance, especially if we count Babar’s and Rizwan’s heroics against India. However, it was also a slap back to reality that things need to change before Pakistan competes once again.
Something to Learn
Pakistan skipper and ICC’s Player of the Year nominee, Babar Azam, says that the team ended the year on a high. He noted the win against India as a pivotal moment that should be an inspiration for the next generation of cricketeers. He also said that 2021 was a learning year for Pakistan. The team likely identified its mistakes and found areas where it can do much better.
With himself, Rizwan, and Shaheen leading the way, many experts believe Pakistan can have a great future. But not without a plan. That’s what all cricket experts are saying right now. India’s new approach can be a great starting point for Pakistan too. What the team’s national council needs to do is try new strategies that can find younger alternatives on time. Every player needs a chance to blossom, and Pakistan is not shy of talent.
With a few changes, the team can be relevant once again, something that Pakistani cricket fans have been waiting for decades.