The rivalry between India and Pakistan has trodden beyond diplomatic borders and is now being witnessed in the sandy deserts of United Arab Emirates. The cricket teams of the two countries are fighting it out in the field. The two matches Indian and Pakistani crickets teams have played were won by India hurting the pro Pakistan cricket lovers to the hilt. It was déjà vu all over again. Stunning batting performance from Indian opening batsmen Rohit Sharma (the captain) and Shekhar Dhawan and controlled and disciplined bowling their spinners and fast bowlers led India to led India to a thumping victory over below par Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup. India and Pakistan have clashed in two matches so far. In both the matches Pakistan team appeared more like a club team with matching qualities with the Indian team. All the way it looked one-sided affair. The matches were was played against the backdrop of heightened tension between the two countries. The media hype and the emotional involvement of the people of the two countries had likened it a ‘war’. As millions of cricket viewers and lovers across the globe watched Pakistan cricket team’s top batting order implode against Indian bowlers, it seemed to be following the set pattern of their previous games, barring the ICC champion’s final match, which Pakistan won by a respectable margin. Reckless shot-selection saw Pakistan’s top order collapsing in a heap. Clueless batting performance from the openers Fakhre Zaman and Imam ul Haque, not so-good batting by the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad left too much on the lower order to do, as the Men in Green were eventually bowled out for 161 in the first match and 236 in the second match. Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik are the only exception who showed the guts to face the Indian spin bowlers.
Pakistan’s bowling attack is considered one of the best in the cricket world. But against a strong Indian batting line, Pakistani bowlers proved no more than club cricketers. Paksiatan is placed at number six in both the one-day international and Twenty20 international rankings released by the ICC because of its poor batting. The last time Pakistan defeated India in an ICC tournament was during the Champions Trophy at Centurion, last year. In the ongoing Asia Cup tournament India has so far won all the five matches it played. With consecutive miserable defeats at the hands of India, the Pakistan team is facing ire of their loyal fans back home as well as around the globe. As for Pakistani cricket fans are concerned they have plenty of problems to deal with. It is not only their sides horrible run that they have to live with but the dream run of Team India is also adding to their misery. The frustration of Pakistani fans can be understood from smashing television sets. Angry, disappointed, dejected, furious and abusive are just some of the words to describe what the Pakistan cricket fans are feeling after the performance of their team against India. Voices are raised loud and wide that the captain Sarafaraz be shown the doors before the team faces exit from the tournament. Pakistan cricket was once at the top of the world, and the country has produced great cricketers like Imran Khan (now Prime Minister), Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan, Mohammad Haneef, Fazl Mahmood, Javed Miandad, Asif Iqbal, Inzimamul Haque, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and several other biggies. Imran Khan indeed was not only a great cricketer but also a great leader. It was the mix of leadership qualities of Imran Khan and the expertise and passion of the team members that brought Pakistani team out of the moors to take them to the top winning the world cup in 1992. The present Pakistani captain is not even the pale shadow of Imran Khan. With a cricket legend now heading the country, Pakistan Cricket Board needs to immediately rethink their strategy and address the real problems that are taking toll of its cricketing abilities. If they sleep on it, the declining trend in cricket would shrink its space among top cricket playing nations.