T20 World Cup 2024: Horror of horrors!

19 June,2024 04:20 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

One of the pivotal setbacks in Pakistan`s World Cup journey came with the unfortunate postponement of the USA`s match against Ireland due to rain in Florida, which dashed their hopes of advancing further in the competition

Pakistan`s Shadab Khan walks out after being dismissed during the ICC men`s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group A cricket match between Pakistan and Ireland. Pic/AFP

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The ongoing World Cup has been a stage of intense competition and unexpected turns, particularly for Pakistan, whose journey was marked by a series of below-par performances of key players Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. Their performances hit an all-time low, prompting a critical reassessment for the Men in Green as they look towards future international seasons.

Throughout the World Cup campaign, Pakistan's aspirations were marred by the inconsistent showings of their touted all-rounders Wasim and Khan. Despite their acknowledged talent and potential, both players faltered when their contributions were most needed, underscoring the team's reliance on seasoned veterans like Shahid Afridi during crucial matches.

"Pakistani players think that if they don't perform well, the coaches will be sacked, and nothing will happen to them," former captain Wasim Akram said during a broadcast after the defeat to India. "It is time to keep the coaches and change the entire team."

If this wasn't enough, the team faced persistent accusations of internal strife throughout the tournament, with allegations surfacing that certain players secured spots on the squad not due to merit but rather through favouritism. Concurrently, both fans and analysts directed criticism towards the team management, citing concerns over their selections for the World Cup.

Kamran Akmal, a former player, openly asserted that Khan's inclusion in the team was largely attributable to his close relationship with captain Babar Azam. This decision, Akmal contended, resulted in the exclusion of Usama Mir, the leading wicket-taker in the recent Pakistan Super League. "When you select players based on friendship, you'll get these results," Akmal told AFP. "Mir should have been in the squad... That was a big injustice."

One of the pivotal setbacks in Pakistan's World Cup journey came with the unfortunate postponement of the USA's match against Ireland due to rain in Florida, which dashed their hopes of advancing further in the competition. Heading into the latter stages, Pakistan found themselves in a precarious position within their group, having already suffered defeats against formidable opponents like the USA and India. With just one match remaining, Pakistan's maximum achievable points were contingent on the outcome of their final game.

Notably, in stark contrast to the present, Shahid Afridi's legacy serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact that experienced all-rounders can have in elevating team performance during critical tournaments. Afridi, renowned for his explosive batting and effective leg-spin bowling, often turned matches in Pakistan's favour with his dynamic contributions. Beyond his statistical prowess, Afridi's leadership qualities and ability to inspire teammates under pressure were instrumental in the side's historic successes on the global stage.

Looking ahead, as Pakistan recalibrates its strategies and prepares for upcoming competitions, the search for versatile players capable of excelling across all facets of the game remains paramount. The ability to adapt to varying game situations and deliver under pressure is a hallmark of Afridi's enduring legacy that Pakistan aims to emulate and build upon.

While Pakistan's journey in the World Cup ended prematurely, it serves as a pivotal moment for reflection and recalibration within their cricketing setup, especially as the Champions Trophy draws closer. Their campaign underscores the evolving demands of modern cricket, where the role of dynamic all-rounders like Afridi continues to be indispensable in shaping the team's fortunes on the global stage.

Will there be a reincarnation soon?
Will Pakistan come out ahead again? Well, they better.

(With quotes from AFP)

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