By Umer Tariq
Pakistan Cricket team’s shambolic start to the World Cup has put serious questions marks on the team’s chances to make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Pakistan lost both its opening matches in scandalous manner. The first of the two humiliating losses was against arch rivals India at Adelaide, which Pakistan lost by 76 runs. The second was even more shocking came against West Indies five days later. Pakistan batting lineup disintegrated in spectacular fashion chasing a target of 311 runs giving West Indies a victory by a margin of 160 runs.
However that is not all, the teams below par performances have been put in a shadow thanks to the off-field antics of the players and the team management. Before the team left for the World Cup the Pakistan Cricket Board announced that the players will be barred from using social media platforms during the duration of the World Cup, the players were also barred from taking their families along with them on the tournament.
The instructions to keep away from social media networks were issued by the Pakistan cricket board to keep the controversy-plagued Pakistan teams safe from the clutches of any controversy and let them focus on the cricket. However the Pakistan players and team management seems unable to resist the uncontrollable lure of the spotlight that befalls following a controversy.
Fresh from the series loss series lost against New Zealand just before the World Cup the Pakistan team arrived in Australia in preparation of their opening World Cup match against India. However, it seemed as if the players had other important matters at hand.
Days before the important match against India, eight Pakistan players were fined for breaking a team curfew, the players were fined and subsequently warned that any further such incident will result in stern action and they will be sent home.
But yet again, the warning proved fruitless, Pakistan opened the World Cup keeping their losing streak against India intact. The on-field loss was soon followed by another off-field controversy; Pakistan fielding coach Grant Luden tendered his resignation as he was unhappy with the attitude of a few players, however on request of Zakir Khan, the director of operations Pakistan Cricket Board.
Days later another controversy surfaced, this time the tumultuous Ahmed Shehzad was involved in an exchange of harsh words with a journalist. A day later another report surfaced suggesting that Shehzad also had an altercation with head coach Waqar Younis.
Then came the heavy loss against West Indies, following the loss reports emerged that Pakistan’s Chief selector and the member of the tour selection committee Moin Khan was spotted at a casino couple of days before the match against West Indies. Moin has subsequently been asked to return home.
Cricket is perhaps the only sport left in Pakistan from which fans have some expectations. Pakistan could still qualify for the quarter finals provided they get their act together and perform well in the remaining four matches. The off-field controversy-cup is however something an ardent fan won’t understand. The World Cup comes once every four years, such unprofessional and non serious attitude of the players and the team management is inexplicable. The players are representing the entire nation; off-field antics like these are not only harming their own reputation but also the reputation of the entire nation. It is time that the players fix up their act and respect the honor and pride of the country and focus on what they are paid to do, play cricket, good cricket.