When Pakistan could not manage to go beyond the quarter final stage of the ICC World Cup in 2015 the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to re-build the national team so that better results may be visible in future.
Azhar Ali was appointed as the One Day International (ODI) captain and players like Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi were forced to retire from the format while others like Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad were dropped on disciplinary grounds and younger players were brought in as replacements.
In 2016 again following a disastrous ICC World T20 campaign the same Chairman decided to revamp the system. Members from the selection committee and coaching staff were sacked and Shahzad and Akmal were dropped once more. Sarfraz Ahmed was handed over the T20 captaincy and his predecessor i.e. Shahid Afridi was shown the door for good.
These decisions hardly made a difference for Pakistan cricket in the past. Still, it is likely that following another disastrous campaign in Australia the bosses in PCB instead of addressing the root cause will once again look for scapegoats; sacrificing whom would help them extend their stay in the office on one hand and will help in calming down the public sentiment on the other.
It is expected that Misbah and Younis will be spoken to and will be asked to provide a time frame for their retirement. However, Azhar Ali might not receive a similar treatment and may as well be replaced with Sarfraz as the ODI skipper and dropped from the format without even being allowed to explain his position.
Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Rizwan and Rahat Ali are also likely to be dropped in any one format whereas Sohail Khan, Imran Khan and Wahab Riaz may not feature at all in the squad that tours the Caribbean islands.
Other than the ICC Champion’s Trophy Pakistan is all set to play in familiar conditions of the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh this year. Therefore, there is a huge possibility of the national side doing well during next 12 months or so and hence, the dust should automatically settle under the carpet.
However, it is apparent that owing to politics within the regions, PCB is handicapped and therefore, in no mood to nip the evil in the bud by introducing major changes where they are actually required i.e. the country’s domestic structure-something that should make way for another season of wholesale changes just after Pakistan tour England in 2018!