Australia 2009-10 January 12, 2010

Please, green cap before greenbacks

Differences of opinion are inevitable but the serious problem is that the spat has reinforced the fears of many Pakistan supporters who believe that the players are hell bent on putting themselves first and above the interests of the national team

Without his batting ability Kamran Akmal would be universally condemned, and perhaps that is his salvation © AFP

The manner of Pakistan's final day capitulation in Sydney was always going to hurt players and supporters. Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal and Misbah ul Haq in particular were unlikely to extract much sympathy.

No surprise there then, but Team Pakistan has managed to find another way to surprise us. The host television company could not have hoped for better other than to organise a Pop Idol style public vote to decide who will keep wicket for Pakistan. Stumper Idol doesn't have quite the same ring to it but I'd have tuned in.

My guess is Kamran would be voted out. Most fans have lost faith in his glovework and the Sydney Test just reminded everybody how often he has dropped important chances, opportunities that decide between success and failure.

Without his batting ability Kamran would be universally condemned, and perhaps that is his salvation. The boy can bat but he is too prone to throw his wicket away. A stint as a specialist batsmen might force him to rethink his attitude and give Pakistan another genuine batting option.

But the real issue of this week has been the sinister sentiment surrounding the wicketkeeping row. Yousuf, Kamran, and possibly Umar have seemed to hold one view while the PCB and the rest of the team management have held another.

Differences of opinion are inevitable but the serious problem is that the spat has reinforced the fears of many Pakistan supporters who believe that the players are hell bent on putting themselves first and above the interests of the national team.

There was a time when wearing the green cap with five pointed gold star was the pinnacle of achievement. Yes, some unworthy players got to wear it but it was hard to argue that the majority were probably the best available.

Unfortunately, the last decade or so has seen politics and personal preferences take an even firmer grip of cricketing affairs. Fans no longer have confidence that the best are being rewarded with the cap. Nor do they have confidence that those with the cap will act in the best interests of the team.

This might not be true but the perception is damning. Pakistan supporters old enough to remember will recall a time when their representatives wore the cap with pride and fought to the last. The perception is that priorities have changed.

An eternity in the limelight and an IPL contract have become the objectives of modern players. I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, and hang Pakistan cricket. Ultimately, the cricket board is responsible for tolerating this nonsense, and players are responsible for allowing us to question their motives.

Values are important in times of adversity. Australia built a cricketing legacy upon them. The baggy green is still the most treasured and well-earned possession of any Australian cricketer. It's a lesson that is hitting Pakistan cricket squarely in the face and will continue to do so over the next 12 months. For Pakistan's cricketers, what better value could there be than putting the green cap before greenbacks?

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on November 20, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    I always like this is type of article. Thank you.

  • testli5504537 on September 23, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    nice to be here.... thanks for share

  • testli5504537 on January 15, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    The comment made by Yousuf after the second days play is totally rubbish. He is a captiain of the team and he should restrained himself of making such comments to the media. Though Salman Butt is a lazy runner but still two run outs are just shocking. This is not a one day game or a 20-20 game niether we are chasing some target in this Test. Only thing we are doing here is to save this test and that's we can only do by staying at the crease. Secondly this Australlian side is weak side as compared to the Champion side of the past and there was a real chance of beating them as West Indies performance showed. But we are weak in every department except perhaps bowling. But than these bowlers cannot bat, cannot field and drop easy catches.

  • testli5504537 on January 15, 2010, 1:14 GMT

    Oh dear! things are going terribly wrong for Pakistan ever since Kamran Akmal dropped those catches on the 4th Day of the Sidney Test. Watching Pak play is a sorry sight. A major over haul is badly needed. First get rid of Intikhab, not even fit to manage the Karachi Zoo, then that big Butt , Ijaz next the following players should be retired: Mohd Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaniera and most inept WK Kamran Akmal. Yes, a complete sweep of the rubbish thats causing all the problem.

  • testli5504537 on January 15, 2010, 0:32 GMT

    The hight of embarassment, for the coach and our players, should be to see the snap shot of Khurram Manzoor trying to hold a ball. It is as if he is waiting for the miracle to happen BECAUSE THE EYES ARE ALL CLOSED. Such might be the acceptable standard for the OLD "should retire" Coach. A simple rule to drop the player from the team if he is fielding bad or dropping catches would be enough. You would see them working very deligently in improving their fielding when they are sitting outside, no special coach is needed. I wonder what kind of coaching is required for a test player for him to hold a catch, I do not see any. Just requires extensive practice which obviously is missing in the training camp. There is no room for Inte as a coach and no room for Yousuf to be a captain. His docile attitude is making it worse coupled with his defensive attitude. We need captains like Imran who could call names outloud for the whole world to listen. Such is the requirement for our players.

  • testli5504537 on January 14, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    Mr Abaasi you are right about every thing. That's where Pakistani cricket stands right now to look after each other's back not to look after pakistani cricket. peolpe like Faisal Iqbal, Khurram Manzoor, Imran Farhat, Misbah ul Haq,Shoaib Malik,Kamran Akmal,Salman Butt needs to out of national team. Pakistani selectors who ever they are need to go back to their day jobs. May be we need to bring some Australian coach and his crew .They might care more about Pakistani cricket than our own pakistani administers.It might sound strange but true.Atleast OZ'S bring professionalism to their game.

  • testli5504537 on January 14, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Better to sack Intikhab and get someone from the recent period of our cricket i.e.Wasim Akram. Yousuf should have been sent home along with Kamran Akmal. Younis Khan, what a waste of money on old hands that consistently scores under 10 runs. When do our cricket board learn the future of Pakistan's lays in the hands of young players. Why are they keep wasting time and money on failures? What Pakistan needs are fresh new faces, even if thet fail it worth experimenting, not that our so- call expience players have performed well.

  • testli5504537 on January 14, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Hamid,The big question is who is going to motivate the players? Captain??he don`t have believe in himself how could he motivate the team & coach? it is a laughable question.I think the only persons in this whole lot who have self believe are the four fast bowlers & their coach Waqar Younis who despite all the odds are bowling there heart out & the result is this that selection committee send Sami to strengthen the bowling,He played one match, proved himself & called back.Is this the name of the game? MOTIVATION.If this is motivation then Mr Ifs & BUTTS let me know what is demotivation & I think the answer will be continuing with non performers from Dubai to Australia & holding of PCB Posts by people like IFs & BUTTS.They dam care about PRIDE OF PAKISTAN.They care about their own POCKETS.They themselves are non performers right from TOP to Bottom. KIS KIS KA NAAM LAIN it is a very long list.

  • testli5504537 on January 14, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Pakistan's fielding: From what Inti says, we're to believe this is the best it can be. When he talks about grass roots solution to fielding that is for teams of the future. What solution does he have for the present? None. He keeps repeating the same statement as if asking us to accept present standard of fielding as the norm for Pakistan. If that is the case then Pakistan should forget about winning any matches. Intikhab played his cricket at a time when Pakistan fielding was just as it is now and may be that is why he thinks it is OK to drop catches by dozens. Sorry coach, this standard of fielding is not acceptable and I am sure there is a solution other than grassroots. After all our fielding has not always been this bad. You need to motivate your players, coach.

  • testli5504537 on January 14, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    Yesterday the fans were tormented to watch the poorest display of cricket that Pakistan Captain had to offer. Obviously he pays not attention to this blog or to his critics. After the fielders let down the bowlers and Ponting was dropped at 0, the Pakistan pace attack continued to dominate and apply good pressure on the two batsmen at the crease. There was no sense to introduce Danish. Yusuf probably has no knowledge that both Ponting and Clarke are good players of spin. After tea Yusuf totally lost confidence in the ability of his bowlers and became even more defensive. The bowlers were asked to bowl wide of the off stump, to dry down the runs & expect two set batsmen to make mistakes and get out. These tactics are unsporting & certainly demoralize the fielding side. Yusuf has no idea of Captaincy and if the PCB persists with him for the ODI series, barring a miracle that series too will be lost. I wish someone can tell Yusuf and the coaches that, "attack is the best form of defense".

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