Experimenting With Winning Combination Cost Pakistan The Series. Will Misbah Learn The Lesson?
Pakistan simply routed the second fiddle Sri Lankan team in the ODI series by 2-0 to clinch the series. After having won the series in such a comprehensive fashion, Pakistan suffered a humiliating whitewash against them in the T20 series, much to the disbelief of Pakistani cricket fans.
Point is, how on earth can you disrupt a winning combination? Abid Ali was a star performer in the second ODI and looked the most elegant and the most impressive of the lot, but wasn’t picked for the T20s – heaven knows why.
Dropping or not selecting a performing youngster is like chipping away at his confidence which could easily lead to squandering a sterling talent. It’s hard to fathom the approach of Pakistani selectors over the years as they drop players who are on the peak of their forms and later re-induct them when they seem rusty and flaky – only to dump them for good.
Another big surprise was Usman Shinwari, who was also dropped despite claiming six wickets in two ODIs.
Out of nowhere, Misbah decided to pick Faheem Ashraf over a performing Usman Shinwari and the medium-pacer turned out to be a massive miscalculation as he conceded 31 in just three overs.
Dropping Haris Sohail was yet another blunder after he scored 40 in one ODI where he was unluckily run out and 56 in the other. His re-induction came out of sheer desperation in the third T20 when Pakistan was already staring at an inevitable whitewash. He became the only player to have scored a half-century for Pakistan in the whole T20 series.
I don’t believe PCB authorities are quite mindful of the perils of playing with the confidence of young budding cricketers. If a youngster is dropped despite his striking performance, he would be clipped off the prerequisite confidence and would feel crippled by the immense pressure on his shoulders of staying in the team.
If a player is playing well, how are you supposed to put his place up for grabs? If you are to make some experiments, drop those who aren’t performing. It’s truly a bizarre approach where a player can never be certain of his place in the side even if he happens to be a top performer.
Iftikhar Ahmed was the top-scorer in the first T20 but wasn’t picked for the second one. This approach would never serve Pakistan cricket at all and in fact, could prove to be deleterious for Pakistani cricket.
On the other hand, confidence is something that brings you success when high and can turn you into an ordinary player when low. Pakistan cricketing authorities will have to realize the significance of instilling confidence in their talented players because one bad decision can cost a player his career.
And the lesson they have learnt in the context of the T20 series defeat is that one should never ever perform needless experiments on a winning combination. Sri Lankan cricket management has set a perfect example of how and when to make changes when they introduced five changes only after having secured indomitable lead in the series.