South Africa February 14, 2007

I'm embarrassed, are you?

Well done to South Africa

Well done to South Africa. They have outbatted, outbowled, outfielded, and out-committed Pakistan. Having said that, the way Pakistan have played most of this series it wouldn't have taken much to do so. The fact that South Africa have been exceptional has added to Pakistan's embarrassment. Indeed, the last two games have been a complete shambles.

Pakistan give the impression of a team without spirit, strategy, or spine. They are going backwards in all departments. This is as dejected as I've ever felt before a World Cup campaign and I've been lucky enough to witness all of them. Pakistan's progress from the last World Cup looks at the moment to be precisely zero. In a month's time, in different conditions, it might be a different story. That would be typical of Pakistan and they certainly have the players to turn it around. But when the failures are so abject and so persistent I worry about the leadership.

Bob and Inzy need to invigorate their troops, inspire them to greater heights, make them fight for every moment of their existence. The current Pakistan team looks lethargic, uninspired, and unwilling to fight. Worst of all the whole show looks unprofessional. If day in day out I was letting down 160 million people at home and many millions more abroad, I'd be embarrassed. Indeed, my shame might drive me to fight for those millions of people rooting for me.

Where is the shame? We need to know it's there, because I tell you boys there's plenty of embarrassment out there. Pakistan were once famous for being cornered tigers but they are now frightened rabbits. Where is the shame boys? Where is the pride? You might carry it in your hearts but you also need to wear it on your sleeves.

Pakistan fans are often criticised for being fickle, but the reality is--and it's obvious reading comments on this blog--that success in cricket really matters to Pakistanis everywhere. We need to know and see that it also matters to the players, captain, and coach. When this World Cup becomes history it will be the performances of the players and the achievements of the captain and coach that will be remembered. The failings--and they are genuine failings--of the administrators will be barely considered.

The bottom line is that the squad and management must succeed despite the crazy way the country's cricket is run. They might not owe it to their cricket board but they certainly owe it to their many millions of die-hard supporters. Let's hope we see a different Pakistan and different leadership in a month's time.

Pakistan's equipment went missing recently but nobody told us that they'd lost their heart as well.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here