Hot Favorites in Hot Waters

For a team that self-proclaimed to be one of the hot favorites to win the last edition of the ICC Champions Trophy, Team Pakistan did not surprise me a lot when it was kicked out of the tournament without even registering a single win. Comments, reviews, reflections and analysis related to the team’s embarrassing performance in the UK are still underway. Some most popular points being discussed in this regard and my take on them are as follows:

Get rid of the over-aged players:

A very popular notion is to get rid of the players who have reached ages of 30 and above as they aren’t considered young enough to compete at the highest level with the energy and fitness levels required.

I wouldn’t blindly support the notion just on the basis of age. If someone is good enough to perform and maintain good fitness levels, he should play. It’s as simple as that for me. Mike Hussey and Younus Khan are good examples of players that age well above 30 but are more agile than many 22 year olds.

A new, young team:

Moving forward with the thought of eliminating over-aged players from the team, the notion of replacing them with fresh faces is catching up amongst the masses.

I, for some reason, don’t find that working out either for the team. This is mainly because of the fact that good teams have to have a good mix of youth and experience. For starters, we may just presently have the right mix as far as the ratio of youth and experience is concerned. It is simply a matter of filling the slots with the right guys.

Do we really need Dav Watmore?

The concept of having a foreign coach has always been a controversial one as far as Pakistan cricket is concerned. Things heat up even more after humiliating defeats such as the ones just experienced at the ICC Champion’s Trophy and questions start being asked if we really need coaches like Dav Watmore.

In my opinion, Dav Watmore is the right guy, but he’s not being used for the right job. The National Cricket Academy (NCA) is the right place for Dav Watmore, as far as I’m concerned. This is just how India utilized Dav Watmore when he was appointed Director of a Cricket Academy in India where his job was to prepare cricketers for the highest level and not to coach them at it.

You don’t need professors to travel with engineers in the industry. You needs them at colleges to prepare engineers for the industry.

The PCB needs to be re-structured:

There’s a lot of talk to turn PCB upside down and to make drastic changes in its management in order to make the Pakistan team deliver more.

To the extent of introducing merit into the system, I agree to this thought. The PCB does not be re-structured in a sense that merit needs to prevail from top to bottom, and I do mean from ‘top’ to bottom. The selection committee needs to be selected on merit itself and team selection would then follow the same path.

To sum it all up, we need to have a balanced team in all manners having the right mix of youth and experience along with the implementation of having the right staff and players for the right jobs.

Hammad A. Mateen

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