No team in the world is as temperamental as Pakistan, writes Sunil Gavaskar
The Pakistan team’s win in the ICC World Twenty20 is an indicator of the potential of this team. It is said of the Pakistan team that when they are good, they are very good and when they are bad, they are very bad.
No team in the world is as temperamental as the Pakistan team and therefore nobody knows which mood the team is going to turn up in on the day.
Younus Khan has tried hard to give it some direction and he has partly succeeded but even he knows that as long as he himself is doing well the team will listen to him and as soon as he starts to fail and the team is losing, the others in the team will be looking to take his place.
Palace coups are a regular feature in the Pakistan team and so there are resignations and retirements galore but hardly anybody including the players take these seriously.
What helps Pakistan is the inclusion of some raw youngsters who know nothing better than playing cricket and so are far removed from the intrigue in the dressing room.
These youngsters invariably make a telling contribution to the game. In the ICC World Twenty20 it was young Mohammad Aamer who bowled splendidly to rock the opposition batsmen and now they have Kamran Akmal’s younger brother who is batting brilliantly and scoring rapidly.
The senior brother also is no slouch with the bat and at the moment is not interested in captaincy and all that, so is not distracted by events around him. The anxiety in the Pakistan team will be the form of Misbah-ul-Haq.
He hasn’t quite lived up to the promise of the big shots that he displayed in the first ICC World Twenty20 which India won, thanks to an ill advised shot from Misbah.
If he can take that out of his mind then he can make a difference as he has the shots and more crucially the power to play them at will.
Pakistan has done well by going early to South Africa to get used to the pitches and conditions and they will also have the advantage of playing a group game before their big one against traditional rivals India.
The West Indies is a second string team, what with the failure of talks between the Board and the players’ association.
It may well be a bit too much for the players suddenly thrown into the whirlpool of big cricket and how they cope with that will decide their fate in the tourney.
It is such a pity because the West Indies were looking in the last year or so as if they were turning the corner as far as their cricket was concerned with good performances against England at home and having a top core group of players along with a few keen youngsters.
The pace attack was also looking sharp and so they looked a side to watch out for. Unfortunately the spat between the Board and the players association has been a big setback and even if it is settled it may well be some time before the West Indies are a formidable unit again.
It’s a game between two utterly unpredictable teams and the team that comes with cricket on its mind should win.
Professional Management Group