Prior to playing its first Test match of the rubber in the Caribbean Islands, Pakistan fielded its first choice players for a warm-up game against West Indies President’s XI. To say the least the green shirts fared poorly against a team that comprised of newbies. First, the bowlers ended up conceding over 400 runs and then the batsmen could not even pile up a total of 200!
Ever since becoming the top ranked team last year Pakistan’s performance at the Test level has been horrific as a result of which their ranking has gone down. Their recent performance is an eye opener and provides a number of negative indications.
Here is a look at top 3 indicators that suggest Pakistan’s future as a top team is in danger.
3. Lack of Discipline in the Field
It is no secret that the likes of Muhammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah have been struggling of late and are on the verge of losing their place in the playing eleven. Moreover, as a fielding unit the boys in green lack physical and mental fitness as a result of which they are prone to dropping catches and thus, handing over the initiative back to the opposition.
With an outdated domestic structure, lack of international cricket and funds, there is no immediate solution in sight which basically means that national selectors have little choice but to remain patient with quite a few players from the current lot despite their average performances and hence, bear embarrassment against the big boys every now and then.
2. Lack of Power Hitters
Under Misbah-ul-Haq Pakistan was able to achieve good success while still employing the on-field strategies of the 80s and 90s. However, the series in Australia served as an eye opener where the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith were able to wipe off huge deficits within a handful of sessions through their ability to hit the ball big and that too with good consistency.
With Pakistan struggling to find power hitters and with Sharjeel Khan likely to face a ban following the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot fixing controversy there seems no hope of competing with teams like Australia, South Africa, England and the top ranked India any time soon.
1. The Retirement of Misbah and Younis
Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan will retire following the series in West Indies. Both of them have served the country in a graceful manner over the years however, age clearly began to catch up with them and there is no doubt that they have made the right decision. Nevertheless, Pakistan does not have a backup ready and therefore, is likely to struggle for stability in the middle once they are gone.
Pakistan will play low ranked sides like the West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka this year still, owing to the aforesaid factors they are not likely to provide a white wash performance (that by the way you expect from a top team especially, against a weak side) and draw or a loss here and there will eventually effect their ranking in an adverse manner and make way for a scenario similar to the one the green shirts face at the One Day International (ODI) level. 2018 then, can well be the year where Pakistan hits rock bottom at the Test level too!