Sarfraz-led Pakistan team offered not too much to cherish for their fans as they won just a match out of their five matches and their last defeat against India opened up many controversies and criticism which was hard for the team to handle.
After deciding to take a rest for two days following their humiliation against India for the seventh time in a row in world’s biggest multi-nation cricket tournament, the team management gave away a clear message that something is fishy or in fact the players are disturbed and want some days’ rest before getting into another clash of the mega event.
The players then gathered at the Lord’s Cricket Stadium after a couple of stressful days. Absorbing the pressure of criticism back at home, these players started training with an aim to kick out the perception of grouping in the team which was making rounds on social media.
The team management had a clear message to the players to not give up till the last match as opportunities come their way if they win all of their next four matches. On June 20 [Thursday], the team had a long and tough training session and a compulsory for everyone which breaks the stereotype of grouping in the team.
From seniors to juniors, everyone trained hard and tried to give their best in net sessions which showed that still, they want to be in the tournament. Some pictures make rounds on social media in which players were seen sharing a laugh with each other during the practice session and somewhere it was like everything is fine and on the track.
“We are gelled up and why not after all we are here to represent our country. We were not up to the mark in our last matches but you never know what happens next,” fast bowler Wahab Riaz told reporters on the sidelines of team’s training session at Home Of Cricket.
Wahab was of the view that Pakistan can change the fortunes for them and they are exceptional under-pressure. “We have potential, skills and hunger to win. We will play game by game and I think that is the strong way to get things under your control,” the pacer added.
Pakistan, as always look strong on the page but the execution of plans was not up to the mark which let them down. On Sunday, surely they will go for some changes in the side and one of those changes might be of Shoaib Malik as the experienced batsman failed to show his dominance and just scored eight runs so far in this tournament.
The things are quite complicated for the team as a single mistake can make the situation worse for them and the entire cricket board. According to some sources, Pakistan is likely to bring Haris Sohail and Mohammad Husnain in the playing XI. Who will miss out for them is tough to predict but their inclusion might give some edge to the men in green.
If you talk about Haris Sohail then he is the solid middle-order batsman Pakistan have in their current line-up with a decent average of 45.79. He was axed from the final XI after failing to score against West Indies. Had given a couple of chances, he might have made some difference in Pakistan’s batting.
Haris’s last series against Australia was quite good for him as with two centuries he scored 291 runs in five matches. This performance was also the reason behind his selection in the team for the World Cup.
Husnain, with promising pace, is optimistic to make a mark if he gets a chance to make his debut against South Africa on Sunday.
On the other hand, players including Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, and Sarfraz Ahmed should come forward and take responsibility to put Pakistan in the driving seat.
In bowling, someone has to join hands with inform Mohammad Amir who is currently the third highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 13 wickets. Pakistan have options in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Husnain but it depends on how they are being used in upcoming matches.
There is nothing left to lose and this is the only situation in which Pakistan have always proven their strength. The nation is disheartened but still, they will be glued in front of their TV screens on Sunday. Hopefully, we will hear ‘Pakistan cricket at its best’ once again.