Will to win in rare supply
As another dismal chapter closes on Pakistan's senior tour of Australia, another exciting one is about to start for the U19s. There have been few redeeming features of Pakistan's cricket since the failure in the Sydney Test, and Mohammad Yousuf's deluded assertion that his team have performed better than teams of the past is a hollow boast.
The evidence to disprove him has beamed to every corner of the globe. Unfortunately, Yousuf's dread philospohies have alarmed supporters and undoubtedly infected his troops. Mohammad Yousuf's Pakistan have lacked the will to win. They have settled for second best and been content in their failure.
Across the Tasman Sea, a young Pakistan side has shown how the exact opposite attitude can help you exceed expectations. Pakistan U19s may not even be one of the top two teams in the tournament but their spirit, as epitomised by Hammad Azam, has been refreshing. For demonstrating such will to win, Hammad deserves his opportunity in the Twenty20 against the senior Australian team.
Nobody expected Pakistan to beat Australia in the Tests or One-Day Series but the manner of defeat has been unacceptable. Pakistan's consistent success at U19 level over the last decade and more is testament to the talent in the pipeline. What happens in senior cricket that squanders that potential?
Many Cricinfo readers will know that the answers are several and reasonably obvious yet the PCB is unable to pinpoint them and deal with them effectively. Pakistan cricket can blame many factors out of its control both at home and abroad, however, it is far from getting its own house in any sort of order.
There is an urgent need to restore some pride. This series is lost and the team in a rut. Can there be any harm in Yousuf resting for the final match and allowing Shahid Afridi to try a different approach that better suits the Pakistani temperament? With any luck, Hammad and the U19s might once again remind the seniors how it's done.
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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here