February 10, 2010

Power to Pakistan

They have long been among cricket's most compelling teams, and though the current turmoil in the country bodes ill for the game, there is hope yet
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Pakistan is a team struggling for direction, from a nation batting for identity. Ever since the tragic death of its founding father soon after independence had been attained, the country has been at the mercy of a fickle political climate. Arguably the country has become as much a political as a geographic entity. Pakistan has been driven by its passions. Whereas India tends to calm down after a while, its northern neighbour can simmer. Volatility has been its hallmark.

Inevitably the wider turmoil has been reflected in the way Pakistan has played its cricket. It is hard to build structures and stability where neither exists in the society at large. It's difficult to assert authority when the holders of high office themselves are constantly looking over their shoulders. It's hard to make a plan when the nation itself has no such confidence. Factions and friction are the inevitable result of all these unsettling forces. Everything is transitory.

Pakistan has many faces At once it is a powerful nation with a large and fitfully growing economy and also a perilous place in a fractious neighbourhood. At once it is a religious state and yet also a place where new television stations open almost weekly, where The Vagina Monologues was staged not so many years ago. It is the land of Karachi, Lahore and the rugged mountains of the North. It is a country Westerners rarely visit, and yet, when they do, often return surprised and impressed from.

No country can be put in a little box. Iraq has an ancient culture. Iran counts amongst the most literate places around. Zimbabwe's schools are second to none. Australia has a television station, SBS, given over overwhelmingly to immigrant communities. Pakistan too resists caricature.

Over the decades Pakistani cricket reflected the forces evident in wider society. At times in the early years the local game was dominated by anglophiles from wealthy backgrounds determined to prove that they could be as respectable as their former rulers. For a long time the subcontinental teams were the most sporting anywhere, though the West Indians ran them close. Only Australia found its voice from the outset, but then it was not a conquered land so much as a place for outcasts and opportunists. And so the Aussies did not walk on cue or talk politely or pitch the ball up.

Even in the years before independence, the region had been known for its fast bowlers. From its earliest days on the international stage, Pakistan cricket contained many fine players, not least bowlers like Fazal Mahmood, a handful on any track, and lethal on the matting wickets that prevailed till groundsmen were instructed to lay down grass surfaces. Although he did not stand alone, Hanif Mohammad was the first great batsman to emerge from the country, and his epic innings in the West Indies is recognised as amongst the finest ever played. Hereabouts, though, the team lacked depth and did not always travel well.

Not until the 1970s did Pakistan field a side that was able to hold its own against any opponent anywhere in the world. As a youngster growing up in England, I was dazzled by the wristy brilliance of Zaheer Abbas, the valiant displays put on by Asif Iqbal, the round-faced contributions of Mushtaq Mohammad, and the grave skill produced by Majid Khan. For that matter, Intikhab Alam was around, sending down his cheery legbreaks. Even then he had the air of a man able to take life's vicissitudes in his stride.

Ever since, Pakistan has been regarded as amongst the most powerful of the cricketing nations. Next, the emergence of two great players, arguably the greatest in their history and amongst the best the game has known, pushed them along. Between them, and in their contrasting ways, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad drove their country's cricket onwards. Imran was the imperial leader, able by size and force of character to hold the team together and to forge it in his image. Under his commanding captaincy Pakistan fought back from the brink of early elimination to take the World Cup. When victory arrived the players gave thanks to their God. Already Imran had arranged for the spoils to be given to charity, a gesture that did not please all his subjects. His sincerity could not be doubted. In retirement he devoted his life to serving his nation and building cancer hospitals. Not even the most towering cricketer, though, not even a World Cup winner can win elections without an organisation.

None of it boded well. All of it told of a nation whose institutions were failing. It told of a cricket community that does not know what tomorrow might bring and so divides against itself. In such circumstances it is impossible to build a team or make plans

Miandad was the hustler and bustler of the Pakistan side. Blessed with a brain at once provocative and calculating, and a sharp competitive instinct, he was a formidable and canny batsman. Most particularly he was able to pace his innings to meet all requirements and to score runs against all sorts of bowling in all types of conditions. Probably he has been his country's most resourceful run-scorer. Always he had an eye for the main chance. That he could be disruptive was part of the package. Over the years he captained the side a few times and coached them a few times and always spoke his mind and always seemed unlikely to last long.

Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq were to have as much impact on Pakistan cricket as their illustrious predecessors. However, they were mixed blessings. Akram was a dashing batsman and supreme speedster, able to swing the ball both ways at will but he was also a little inclined towards temptation off the field.

Inzamam looked amiable and was initially assumed to be harmless. At the crease he could belt the ball around with aplomb and from the outset counted amongst the most feared one-day batsmen around. In every respect he was underestimated. Closer inspection revealed a shrewd operator with a dry wit and a fondness for shortcuts.

Both players were popular at home and abroad, but both left the game nursing dented reputations. With every passing year the team became not so much a statement of national intent as an expression of individual ability. Matches and series were won because Pakistan had players, and especially bowlers, of exceptional talent. But the centre was not holding. To the contrary, it was under intense pressure.

Waqar Younis' emergence as a sturdy, fast and skilful pace bowler meant that Pakistan had the most dangerous new-ball attack in the game. Thanks to the same bowlers they also had the most lethal old-ball attack. Both speedsters swung the old ball late and prodigiously, and all manner of mutterings ensued. Not that Pakistan relied entirely on pace. Saqlain Mushtaq's doosra and Mushtaq Ahmed's googly confused opponents in about equal proportions.

However, it was not all sweetness and light. Hereabouts scandals followed the team around, with talk of ball-tampering and latterly, match-fixing. Investigations exposed murky dealings with bookmakers undertaken by some unscrupulous captains and players. On and off the field, Pakistan cricket suffered from a lack of accountability. It remained at the whim of politicians and players. All too often players were taking more than they were giving.

Nothing much has changed. Captains and coaches continue to come and go. Defeat in Australia put the incumbents in the spotlight. Of itself, losing to Australia was not a calamity. It was not even a surprise. Rather it was the manner of the loss in Sydney and the subsequent collapse that told the tale. Pakistan no longer believed in themselves, no longer had the swagger, the ability, the downright cheek, to beat powerful opponents. Somewhere along the way they had lost their nerve. The team spent a long time on the road, too long, and did not survive the journey.

Even the chairman of selectors felt obliged to tender his resignation. One recently resigned captain returned to play in the ODI series. Another took over the reins in the Twenty20. Yet another led the side for a few matches only to be banned for two matches after mistaking the ball for a sandwich. The aged coach was told that, though he had not been sacked, he was not accompanying the team on its next trip. Meanwhile the official vice-captain was dropped for a combination of poor form and loose tongue.

None of it boded well. All of it told of a nation whose institutions were failing. It told of a cricket community that does not know what tomorrow might bring and so divides against itself. In such circumstances it is impossible to build a team or make plans. However honest, no words can be relied upon, because hold on office is tenuous.

It tells of a community unable to entertain and impress its own supporters. The attack on the Sri Lankan team bus removed the last hope of a home series in the near future. Even sympathisers no longer blame players for staying away. To make matters worse, the Pakistan players were kept out of the third season of the IPL. Obviously they were not considered safe choices. IPL officials ought to have admitted as much. Instead they tiptoed around the truth.

If any hope can be found it lies with the dignity of some remaining players and the promise of youth. Pakistan cricket has much to commend it, not least Mohammad Yousuf. And this most mercurial of cricketing nations did include two players of high potential in Mohammad Aamer and Umar Akmal. And the Under-19 side did reach the recent World Cup final. Something has been retained, the rare ability, the glint in the eye, the sense of destiny.

Inescapably Pakistan cricket will rise and fall with the nation itself. It is the fate of the current generation of leaders and players to hold the game together. Nothing more can be expected. There is a time to dig in and a time to attack. It is an unexciting challenge, and unavoidable. Pakistan cricket is worth saving because it has provided such rich entertainment and produced so many extraordinary players. Over the years the team has not always been the most attractive but it has often been the most compelling. Long may it last.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • KhuMir on February 13, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    frommoonman notice he didn't mention Bangladesh either. It's because Pakistan have won 26/43 they have played against India. Just like they have won a majority against Bangladesh. And at the same time, India and Bangladesh were the only teams not to get into the semi-finals of the last two International Cups. Why would he mention India a team worth beating? South Africa just finished slaughtering them.

  • frommoonman on February 13, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    Straight6...notice you did not include India in the list of countries that Pakistan can take on - is it because you don't believe Pakistan can take-on India or is it just a case of sour grapes from the IPL episode?

    PR has hit the nail right-on, it's a failed nation with failed politics, failed infrastructure, failed systems and failed administrators. This is bound to produce failures in a team sports no matter how skilled or gifted the individuals are...!

  • laieq on February 12, 2010, 21:09 GMT

    article is wonderfull work by western analyst i completely agree with peter who descrideb beutifully political scenario and it impact on cricket from independence till today ..i want to tell one thing pakistani nation is a cricket passionate and it like 2nd religon though like always we are struggling for consistency its due to our unstable political fragile system but now paksitani society moving towards prosperity and positive change bcoz of its vibrant and reziliant young generation ,fast growing media bringing awarness between them but it all deponds if current political climate continues..

  • straight6 on February 12, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Pakistan Cricket is immensely flourishing with talent and can take on the likes of Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand. Check this team for ODI I Nazir, AHMED SHAHZEB, K Manzoor,U Amal,A Razzaq(CAPT),S Afridi,HAMMAD AZAM,S Tanvir,Mohd Aamer, Sarfraz Ahmed(W/K) and RAZA HASSAN 12th Man : S Ajmal PCB Should give these boys another 5 ODI's against AUSTRALIA and we'll definately give them a better performance to think about. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!

  • straight6 on February 12, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    Pakistan can still become number 1 They are the World T/20 Champions and the Runners up in the U-19 World Cup. These performances only go to say that our beloved country is never too short of upcoming talented cricketers.(Mohd Aamer) Imran doesn't show any interest, so maybe Majid Khan/ Miandad /Shoaib Mohd as PCB Chairman and Qadir/ Rashid Latif as Chairman of selectors and in the 3 selectors - Aaqib, Ejaz Ahmed & Waqar Younis. Asif Mujtaba as coach When Pak players play in counties or other states, they all tend to perform and yet when these guys get together the performance tends to drift away. Why is that so? Kaneria - Essex, Afridi - S Australia and Rana Naved has also performed for Yorkshire - recent examples Razzaq Captain - T/20 & ODI and Younus /Asim Kamal Test Captain Once PAK start winning against good opposition esp SAfrica, Aus and Eng then you wait and see the cricket will definately come back to HOME fixtures. We need to send positive signal to the WORLD.

  • on February 12, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    Very comprehensive. Touches all the raw nerves.

  • TahirK on February 12, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    This article was amazing and delightful. Amazing because a non Pakistani westerner has analyzed the history and current state of both the country and cricket so accurately and factually. For instance, a typical westerner would say that Pakistanis call themselves religious but wounldnt elaborate that practically most of them are anyting but religious. Peter has analyzed this very accurately. And I was delighted because I am in total agreement with his opinions on cricket. Good job Peter.

  • swanky on February 12, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    Once Mr. Ted Corbett had said -- the nonchalance and the ease with which Inzamam played his cricket would encourage school girls to take up this game of cricket. I have been a great admirer of the cricket played by brothers across the border. May their cricket get rejuvenated and flourish.

  • on February 11, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    yes ,,with the advent of corruption right from the time of establishment ,, it has been a rise an fall in every department, no stability, lets hope for it at some point ,,

    good analysis though,

  • on February 11, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    pakistan will rise again...they only need time and practice...their recent record is poor....but we will be on winning streak once again...

  • KhuMir on February 13, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    frommoonman notice he didn't mention Bangladesh either. It's because Pakistan have won 26/43 they have played against India. Just like they have won a majority against Bangladesh. And at the same time, India and Bangladesh were the only teams not to get into the semi-finals of the last two International Cups. Why would he mention India a team worth beating? South Africa just finished slaughtering them.

  • frommoonman on February 13, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    Straight6...notice you did not include India in the list of countries that Pakistan can take on - is it because you don't believe Pakistan can take-on India or is it just a case of sour grapes from the IPL episode?

    PR has hit the nail right-on, it's a failed nation with failed politics, failed infrastructure, failed systems and failed administrators. This is bound to produce failures in a team sports no matter how skilled or gifted the individuals are...!

  • laieq on February 12, 2010, 21:09 GMT

    article is wonderfull work by western analyst i completely agree with peter who descrideb beutifully political scenario and it impact on cricket from independence till today ..i want to tell one thing pakistani nation is a cricket passionate and it like 2nd religon though like always we are struggling for consistency its due to our unstable political fragile system but now paksitani society moving towards prosperity and positive change bcoz of its vibrant and reziliant young generation ,fast growing media bringing awarness between them but it all deponds if current political climate continues..

  • straight6 on February 12, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Pakistan Cricket is immensely flourishing with talent and can take on the likes of Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand. Check this team for ODI I Nazir, AHMED SHAHZEB, K Manzoor,U Amal,A Razzaq(CAPT),S Afridi,HAMMAD AZAM,S Tanvir,Mohd Aamer, Sarfraz Ahmed(W/K) and RAZA HASSAN 12th Man : S Ajmal PCB Should give these boys another 5 ODI's against AUSTRALIA and we'll definately give them a better performance to think about. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!

  • straight6 on February 12, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    Pakistan can still become number 1 They are the World T/20 Champions and the Runners up in the U-19 World Cup. These performances only go to say that our beloved country is never too short of upcoming talented cricketers.(Mohd Aamer) Imran doesn't show any interest, so maybe Majid Khan/ Miandad /Shoaib Mohd as PCB Chairman and Qadir/ Rashid Latif as Chairman of selectors and in the 3 selectors - Aaqib, Ejaz Ahmed & Waqar Younis. Asif Mujtaba as coach When Pak players play in counties or other states, they all tend to perform and yet when these guys get together the performance tends to drift away. Why is that so? Kaneria - Essex, Afridi - S Australia and Rana Naved has also performed for Yorkshire - recent examples Razzaq Captain - T/20 & ODI and Younus /Asim Kamal Test Captain Once PAK start winning against good opposition esp SAfrica, Aus and Eng then you wait and see the cricket will definately come back to HOME fixtures. We need to send positive signal to the WORLD.

  • on February 12, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    Very comprehensive. Touches all the raw nerves.

  • TahirK on February 12, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    This article was amazing and delightful. Amazing because a non Pakistani westerner has analyzed the history and current state of both the country and cricket so accurately and factually. For instance, a typical westerner would say that Pakistanis call themselves religious but wounldnt elaborate that practically most of them are anyting but religious. Peter has analyzed this very accurately. And I was delighted because I am in total agreement with his opinions on cricket. Good job Peter.

  • swanky on February 12, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    Once Mr. Ted Corbett had said -- the nonchalance and the ease with which Inzamam played his cricket would encourage school girls to take up this game of cricket. I have been a great admirer of the cricket played by brothers across the border. May their cricket get rejuvenated and flourish.

  • on February 11, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    yes ,,with the advent of corruption right from the time of establishment ,, it has been a rise an fall in every department, no stability, lets hope for it at some point ,,

    good analysis though,

  • on February 11, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    pakistan will rise again...they only need time and practice...their recent record is poor....but we will be on winning streak once again...

  • on February 11, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    A very well written article Peter... well-done....The most important thing that Pakistani cricket needs is a good and commanding leadership...Imran won us 1992 worldCup Wasim managed to take us to 1999 final...so it is seen that when there is a strong personality at there back the Pakistani players do play as a unit...I remember up till around 2003...2004 street cricket was very common on our streets and roads but now i see very few no. of Children playing cricket outside...Pakistan Cricket is in a need of saviour......

  • sahil_cricrazy on February 11, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Well apart from every other reason for their failures i think one of the main reason is the refusal to infuse any fresh blood...How come Arafat Faisal iqbal Younis Khan Rao iftikar Salman Butt and many more just keep a musical chair going....Why not some new youngsters?...Pakistan just reached the finals of U-19 World Cup and still there's hardly player who has made an entry into Pak side...Take the example of India...Yuvraj Raina Virat Kohli.....how well these players have progressed because of the trust shown by the selectors.......I hope better sense prevails....

  • ww113 on February 11, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    Pakistan's recent record is poor.In large part,it is due to the fact that they have lost the home advantage.All other countries can play at home,Pakistan can't.The PCB had long relied on batsman friendly pitches at home to protect Pakistan's fragile batting line up.In the long run,this strategy has backfired.Suddenly,Pakistan batsmen find themselves outside their comfort zone.It has been a traumatic transition.

  • NoBite on February 11, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Pakistan can come back easily. They need a good commanding captain ofcourse not Yousuf. Team needs more agility in outfield, combination of batsmen that can complement the current superb bowling line up. Laslty but not least, play less T20 cricket. Don't get test players addicted to T20 wins which has less meaning.

  • on February 11, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    Of all the articles that I have read to date, this is the best analysis/dissection of the decline facing Pakistan cricket and Pakistan in general, written with great insight. I must commend Mr. Roebuck on this write-up. I wish most of us, Pakistanis, start realizing the truth and do something positive to overcome the odds. I know we can do it!!!!

  • on February 11, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    very well written article.

  • razaqaiser on February 11, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    All what is said is right. West Indies is in the same state as well. It is time to go forward. Under 19 team has done well and a few from this tema could be inducted in the senior one. Yunus khan should not be a memebr of one day tewm in the first place. Same could be said now about Yusuf. It needs a mercurial leader. Afridi could be one for next 3 years. Umar gul is becoming a liability in one day as well as test teams. It is not all lost. The mistake of not including the ones from previous under 19 team was mistake and should not be repeated. Local best performers could be tried in A teams. BUT, we need to remove BUTT. Political people are not always good admins. that is why we always have beaurocrates. It is not bad to have Imran Khan prove his mantle as an admin to run the show for 3 years.

  • Farhan166 on February 11, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    Peter - Great job, you deserve special praise for this article. I would like to add my 2 cents worth opinion. I believe its not all doom and gloom for Pakistan cricket, the most important thing is that they have a decent bowling attack which at times will be dangerous and has the ability to get other teams out for under 250/275. When that happens Pakistan will always have chance to win Test matches even with their poor fielding. All Pakistan need is an attacking captain who can believe in himself and the team. People who don't cooperate with the captain should be kicked out. Pakistan definitely needs some naturally gifted batsmen like Miandad and Asif Iqbal.

  • adil8 on February 11, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    I read this article with amazement for it was surprisingly accurate and for someone who reside outside Pakistan it was a hell of a job to be certain of the uncertainties within Pakistan Cricket and Society! Pakistan Team disappoint its fans over and over again but I hope that Pakistan Cricket would ultimately go on to achieve the similar success and respect again as it once did under the leadership of Greatest Ever Pakistan's Captain, Imran Khan!!

  • fawadhaider on February 11, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    looks like peter knows Pakistan's history more than anyone else :P well written.

  • on February 11, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    well said pak will rise soon insh'Alllah

  • ww113 on February 11, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Never, in my memory has Pakistan cricket been in such dire straits.There is a bumbling administration,lots of controversies,a very weak side and a shortage of opportunities to play against top class opposition.I wish the Pakistan side well but I do not foresee much improvement in the near future.

  • vinodkd99 on February 11, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    Some what a decent article but all of us must admit that current crop of Pakistan players do not have the potential to be at top. Same can be vindicated by the fact that pakistan has used about 30 players at test level and ODI level over past year and that too backed up by non stop chopping and changing of players in terms of dropping them for a couple of matches on account of poor performance and then reinstating them again for another 3-4 matches just to be dropped again. Younis, Yusuf, Butt, Farhat, Malik, Umer , Kamran, Misbah, Khurram and who not all have gone through this phase. That speaks volumes about the whole scenario. Till the time Pakistan is not able to get better players, things look extremely bleak.

  • The.Invincibles on February 11, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Such a heart warming article , I think every reality can be read whether nice or harsh.It looks as if you really know Pak cricket from its deep roots.Well but still remember we can rise and we know how to rise out of nowhere...but i hope the rise lasts long.I am hopeful not even for my land and country but for my cricket that it will be what once it was in 70s , it only requires the hard work of youth and i being youth will do everything to achieve goals for ma country.

  • on February 11, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    Excellent Article. Yes we still believe that the team will hit back.

  • on February 11, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    very well written, beautifully sketched Pak cricket history.. but it would meant more if u had discussed the winning the T20 worldcup 2009 and champions trophy's final reach.. Till then it was all going pretty well.. thank you for saying so much positive for Pakistan cricket (where we see more than thousand cricket matches going on in the streets on sundays/holidays and that is only in Karachi !! so that tells how crazy this nation is for cricket) but no matter what WE RISE AGAIN and that too very soon :) Long live Pakistan and Pakistan cricket :)

  • thinkmaker on February 11, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    Very Wonderfull !!!!!!!!!! Well Done Peter!! you've nurtured the complete system in Pakistan's cricket. It's a wonder that you've that kind of thorogh approch and complete analysis for a country you don't belong to. It's beautifully described and you've ended your article with a hope, i liked that the most. From now on ....... i'll follow your articles because you deserve this follow up.

  • on February 11, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    Superbly crafted. Could only have been written by a incisive social commentator who understands the demands of cricket and Pakistan's many vissisitudes inside out. Mandatory reading for all Pakistan cricket administrators!!

  • on February 11, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    This article is brilliantly done Peter :) Appreciate your kindness in stating the facts, not the BS other's have been writing.

  • Acting_Career on February 11, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    it was a heart warming article. This team has tried every trick in the bag to dislodge the fans body but we are one of the most faithful fans in the world. It this was an Indian team who lost the series in AU in such fashion their house would have been burnt to ground way before the last ball was bowled. It is not the about talent or zeal, it is the culture of the society that fails them. Like every society we have both admirable & despicable culture norms. Unfortunately,"Ego" is one of the supreme speedster in Pakistani society. You put two equally talented people in one room, there will be a storm in cup of tea instead of brain storming. The PCB on the other hand is nothing more than facilitators. PCB lacks vision, will and planning. If you can not handle 11 players from your own lot, how can you handle 11 from the opponent. Its all boil down to mind and body training. Dr. Clark Myers said, you can not develop experts without training, retraining and retraining.

  • on February 11, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    One sublime piece of writing, so well-crafted and summarized that it fails to give any lackings, keeping in perspective the space used. The correlation of the nation with the cricket team, itself is one of the most remarkable I've ever come across. You covered almost every era of Pakistan cricket and the main legends to grace, other than the mercurial and self-destructive figures such as Salim Malik, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar. Nevertheless, the overall content is worth a read twice, the notable fact being that it gives such a precise account of the state which the country and its sport has gone through and is presently going through. Cheers for the time and the input. Highly appreciated!

  • Fahim_Dar on February 11, 2010, 0:02 GMT

    Very nice article cheers!!!! Peter. well done

  • lethalbouncer on February 10, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    A comprehensive and astutely observed summary of a great cricketing nation. What is impressive is that the observations are spot-on both about the country at large and its cricket which is rare for a Westerner. Bravo! I hope that Pakistan cricket can get its mojo back and work past all the petty stuff that seems to be holding it down - if it does it will be doing better than the country is.

  • slugger1969 on February 10, 2010, 23:42 GMT

    After that last complete load of rubbish you wrote your ego must have needed a massage. Write a complimentary article about an Asian nations cricket and you will get kudos in bucketloads. I like the way you say that Miandad being disruptive was "part of the package". If an Australian player was that disruptive you would be calling for his head on a plate. And because the dirty lousy Australians are "a place for outcasts and opportunists", we are always going to be cantankerous aren't we? We didn't "walk on cue, talk politely or pitch the ball up". If I remember rightly, one of the biggest blow ups in cricket history was averted because the Australian captain refused to delve to the dirty depths of the English tactics in 1932-33. Really does make me wonder why you came to live here.

  • inoor on February 10, 2010, 23:00 GMT

    Downfall of cricket, like other social symbols, in Pakistan is indeed a reflection of the continuous decay of political institutions. The very obvious reason in the case of cricket being the appointment of Mr Chairman who, invariably, looks to be just as level-headed as Mr President himself in his statements and dealings. May Allah (sigh) save us from the bigger evil.

  • on February 10, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    Pakistan is beset with problems from within and outside. it has political leaders that are there to fill their boots and do as their western masters wish. Pakistan as a country and cricketing nation is full of resources probably moreso than any other team - but minus the great imran and jinnah we havelacked sincere and strong leadership. The attack on the Sri lankan team is testament to this.The Pakistani intelligence services had provided information of a pending attack 1 month prior yet political wrangling meant nothing happened! Even the lankans admitted to the funding for the attacks arriving from its tamil north. Yet despite 100 bomb attacks, politicians looting, political mismanagement, basic foodstuffs sold on the black market abroad as opposed in the local markets - the team which representative of the nation for the high mismangement still won the t20 tournament, got to the semis of the icc trophy. Any other country would have fallen to bits. This is the Pakistan Miracle!

  • on February 10, 2010, 22:37 GMT

    What a great aricale. SO TRUE, You should write more ofthen about Pakistan Team, maybe the PCB will listen to you :) good stuff

  • on February 10, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    Great article Peter; kept the facts above all and used the best words to describe. Thanks for taking the time to explain the history of Pakistani cricket with calculated words.

  • badal on February 10, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    Except for "Supreme Speedster", you have covered everything right about Pak Cricket. A very well written article, which must be shown to our good for nothing politicians.. There is always a hope, that one day, when my homeland once again rise up to the occasion, our team will do the same. I am sure, there must be Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, growing up somewhere, and one day, will get us out of this doldrums and misery. As cricket runs in our blood, it won't be too long, before we can leave all this horrific period behind and surge for greatness and glory.

  • NabeelUsmani on February 10, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    Great article Mr.Peter Roebuck...Your observation of Pakistani Cricket is spot on!!! Pakistan really needs a great strategist in form of a Captain or a coach, and I think Shahid Afridi is the right man for this job to carry forward the great talents like Umar Akmal, Mohammed Aamer and some others....

  • asad114 on February 10, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    I enjoyed your article Peter...just didn't agree with one line: 'over the years the team has not always been the most attractive but it has often been the most compelling.' The Pakistan team has always been attractive with some of the most marketeable and stylish cricketers going around...Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Anwar, Zaheer, Inzi,Mushtaq Ahmed and of course the genius of Qadir... We're the ones who introduced reverse swing to the world We're the ones who made leg-spin bowling fashionable again before Warne took over We're the ones who introduced the doosra into offspin bowling.. And we've got the scorer of the fastest hundred of all time... This is 'attractive' cricket! what we haven't had is consistency...but please never say that Pakistan cricket has not always been attractive because that is the one quality we have always had... Otherwise thanks for taking the time for writing this article and thanks for caring about Pakistan.. Cheers

  • HEARTOUT on February 10, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    Peter!!!!!!!!!!! We love the way you described the cricket of Pakistan and arguably if Pakistan is not gaining what they should the world of cricket also loosing all of the charm and richness which cricket has been awarded by this nation. ICC has been overwhelmed by BCCI and making things difficult for Pakistan but this should be seen in longer perspective that all other sports have been and will take place of cricket and don't forget there are no back ways in time to avoid regrets. This nation of cricket lovers should have given every opportunity to make cricket alive in the all forms..........ICC WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • ahassan on February 10, 2010, 21:09 GMT

    Brilliant..... Peter seems to know more about Pakistans's politic and its corrupt leaders than most of the Pakistanis who keep electing them years after years. Pakitan cricket has suffered a lot at the hands of these corrupt people No one can imagine how many talented youngsters are nipped in the bud by these so called leaders. I hope it all changes in future and Pakistan emerges as a force in all fields of life. Amen.

    Ahassan

  • on February 10, 2010, 21:04 GMT

    Mr. Peter, no cricket greats have had an eye like yours on Pakistan's cricket, true that it is missing the right direction, but controversies, mistakes/blunders by the senior players & political insurgency in the country does effect the game.

    Pakistan is still a team full of potential, and it will emerge as a strong cricket force in the near future. This article should be read by every player of Pakistan, it will help them know who they are, what they were & how tremendous they could still be on the field.

    I hope the cricket greats must have enjoyed this too! As at some pont of time in their careers they all have witnessed the devastating Pakistan's Bowling & magical batting.

  • PakistanicrickFan on February 10, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    I am Really & Honestly to read this article but i want to add something here, our Pakistani players probably the best as talent wise,but somehow they do forget their destiny and goals on the field.i think so our media wants to make everyone politician coz they make really good money in debates on non existing and real issues,If they would have promoted game on domestic level we would have been able to find the back up for these unperfoming cricketers........... may Allah protect our country from these untrue leaders holding Dual Natinalities and save Our most Loved Game from these unfaithful Crickers....

  • on February 10, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    nice article, Peter you have hit the bull's eye.

  • BoomBoomAdnan on February 10, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    As Imran Khan said we have the best talent in the world but the worst system to groom those players. Nicely done.

  • Mohh on February 10, 2010, 19:52 GMT

    i think its a great thing to hear from foreign player about Pakistan. reading this article just when you start to lose hope nope on pakistan, is great

  • on February 10, 2010, 19:50 GMT

    You hav pointd out the core problem of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket. I agree with you.Thanks Peter Roebuck for ur words "Long may it last". I hope our cricketers read this article. I want to add somthing that wtever our politicians are doing, but we love Pakistan and cricket, we feel great when our team wins and its above all our problems. A single win in cricket makes the whole nation happy.

  • Toescrusher on February 10, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    The root cause of destruction of Pakistan's Cricket is the practice of racism and ethnicity with in the team; unless we recognize and address the presence of this cancer in Pakistani cricket the standard of this great game will keep declining in Pakistan i.e. what is the point while we have already missed the big fish; talking about small fish has very little impact on cricket authorities in Pakistan starting from the top.

    It is sad that my comments are not published on Cricinfo even though they are absolutely true. In case if you are not letting it published at least write about the above issue, that will help Pakistan Cricket and many Pakistani cricket fan who have seen the glory of Pakistan Cricket and know how it was achieved.

  • r1zzy on February 10, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Excellent article, well written and explained. Nice to see someone actually appreciate Pakistani cricket (who isnt Pakistani). Keep up the good work

  • on February 10, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    The article is a master piece-------well drafted and gave it a flare.....

  • India_boy on February 10, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    good article sir, but i honestly dont understand all that fuss about pak administrators and cricket board.in my opinion, it is the players' will, determination and pride that help their team and country achieve great heights.true, Pak has been throught hell and even more...turmoil and internal strife the bane of Pakistan, but look at SL,at one time they were among the top 10 nations of the world in terms of people getting killed due to internal strife.not one single area was safe in SL.but look at their team...their performance has been upwards since beginning of 90s.infact their performance was inversely proportional to the turmoil in that country.it is the SL players who hav performed regardless of whats happening back home.thus, Pak players have learned to hide behind the veil of "internal turmoil" and "lack of opportunities" and other such fancy words.they are not motivated, are self centered and do not feel proud 2 play for their country.they hold themselves abov their own country

  • on February 10, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Brilliant article Peter :)

  • on February 10, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    The article clearly reflects the basics of building a team and a cricketing country ie Lack of Vision and Leadership.. If pakistan found success, it was due to Imran's Vision and upbringing of Wasim.. Current crop has enough talent, but the grooming and execution fails miserably.. All Pak would need is an Visionary thinker and an executionist, which would make Pak again to be the force they were..

  • on February 10, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    Nice article, always interesting to read how outsiders view Pakistan & our cricket. As a supporter it can be emotionally draining & leave you wondering why you bother but when they click, it's worth it. Pakistan & our cricket is suffering from a lack of confidence, it was pretty obvious that the players were suffering from a serious inferiority complex in Oz. Proven by the timid start in the first test, the lack of belief in Sydney followed by capitulations in the face of ordinary cricket. Pakistan win when they are aggressive, Imran & Miandad, won matches because they didn't care for reputations & were aggressive & confident in their ability. This filtered through to the players & set the tone for the type of cricket the team played. As for the future of Pakistan cricket, boardroom squabbles will continue but the captain should be Afridi, simply because he encompasses our strengths more than anyone else. Aggressive cricket played with flair with the simple intention of winning.

  • on February 10, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    Peter, You covered every aspect of Pakistan Cricket; Hats off to you

  • on February 10, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    I am speechless over your profound knowledge of pakistan and pakistan's cricket... very refreshing and encouraging to hear from a non-pakistani. God bless you mate!

  • aazhaar on February 10, 2010, 16:31 GMT

    Great article........ Nice work

  • somitgoyal on February 10, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    I stopped reading when I saw Wasim Akram being described as a "supreme speedster" (and that too coming after describing him as a dashing batsman)

  • CricInformer288 on February 10, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    Wow! I am impressed with Mr. Peter Roebuck's analysis on Pakistan and Pakistani cricket! Like some one said in the comments that it should be printed and submitted to PCB Chairman and its Patron in Chief to know how some foreigners still see Pakistan in which manner

  • asim900 on February 10, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    Absolutely brilliant article.....I am amazed to see an english writer to write an article from depth of his heart for Pakistan cricket...Ofcourse whole nation is worried about the way we lost the series...Although I think Toss did play vital role in loss also with Aussies winning most of the tosses....But still Pakistan played some worse cricket to lose...Anyhow we will be back Inshallah....

  • zublub on February 10, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    Rightly said by peter that this team has produced some exceptional talent and extraordinary cricketers... Wish they strike back soon !!

  • pdkhan on February 10, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    Thank you Peter for this beautifully written and honest account of what Pakistan Cricket has been, and has become albeit transiently! You have linked history, character of the people and indeed lately a chain of incompetent and weak leaders. Pakistan cricket reflects the way country is being run and managed. As people, Pakistanis are hospitable, generous and vivacious, even creative with healthy instinct for competition, yet blunted and confused in the current setting. PCB and its elements (as representing the government) are the culprit. A very small illiterate minority of extremists have held the country and its people hostage. Your thoughts in writing this account keeps the hope of the nation and its cricket alive. It will, God willing, bounce back to its 'compelling' self.

  • uzair182 on February 10, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    One of the most comprehensive articles on Pakistan Cricket that i have ever read.................... May God help Pakistan to be a peaceful country with the essence of love for everyone...............

  • on February 10, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    Thanks Peter for your kind words at the end i.e. "long may it last". Every Pakistani has the same sentiments for their nation and cricket. Hopefully the most impressive cricketing nation on the planet will be able to realize its potential and live up to its illustrious past, for the world of cricket is an empty and a dull place without them. AMEN

  • on February 10, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    ya i agree... warney nd afridi wud be perfect !

  • poderdubdubdub on February 10, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    A very honest analysis of the current situation by a true gentleman. Yes Pak had some great players in the past, but thats history now. Whats the future? Unfortunately the country is going down in all the other walks of life too, how can you isolate cricket from whats going on around. A new fiasco emerges from the PCB everyday. To me the worst thing was when an individual entrusted with representing the nation takes the national honour in his own hands (or in mouth!). There is no excuse for that, you cant compare the national honour with winning or losing a cricket match, you surely must have that much sense!. The disastrous matters of Pak cricket will never improve as long as wrong people run the affairs, we need highly talented honourable officials who are appointed without any political interference, but who will do that?

  • on February 10, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    T20 is the only hope for pakistan .. i dont think they can win test matches anymore :(

  • John-Price on February 10, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    "...the round-faced contributions of Mushtaq Mohammad"

    What is a round-faced contribution? Any ideas ?

  • AKD3 on February 10, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    Thanks alot for such a wonderful article.

  • cxiv on February 10, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    Peter Roebuck, Bravo Man! Thanks for still believing that Pakistan can one again become the top team in the world. We've lost the series, not the hope. We shall rise. The world will see it soon enough. :)

  • h4haseeb on February 10, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Peter you have written one of the most interesting articles on Pakistan Cricket i have ever seen on cricinfo

  • Bollo on February 10, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    Anyone who hasn`t seen the SCG rise as one to cheer Imran, Lara, or Sachin all the way to the crease, doesn`t understand what Australian cricket is all about... Although we cheered every Pakistan wicket that fell on that last day in Sydney (me from behind a desk in Japan), most of us, especially if we remembered the dark decade of Aussie cricket from the late 70s onwards, knew deep down inside that Umar Akmal hitting a quick 80 to win it would really have been remember. Yep, long may it last.

  • oUTLAWS on February 10, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    i guess, this article should be printed and sent to the PCB and the President of pakistan, who is the chief patron of PCB. May be, just may, a few words from an outsider could apprise them of what is wrong with the cricket in pakistan. Very sadly, we do have 11 players on the field but no TEAM. We need a team to play not 11 players. You put out a player for a few matches and he comes out talking rubbish against the board. As the late umpire david shephard had said, no player is bigger than the game.

  • Katawazai on February 10, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    This article is completely detailed and Beautiful. Thank you

  • Bollo on February 10, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Excellent read again Mr Roebuck, as has been a lot of your commentary throughout the Pakistan tour or Oz. Some of my earliest memories of cricket as a kid are watching the touring Pakistani teams of the late 70s, early 80s - Majid and Mohsin, Sarfraz and of course the great Zaheer Abbas. Great to see them tour Oz again, although not there to see it live, and to see the Aussie public get behind them as well. I think everyone knows it`s been a tough time for the country and its cricket team. Non-Aussies who haven`t visited or played cricket back home, or those who only focus on the yobbo element, might be surprised to know that it`s actually a pretty fair place. Cricket`s played very hard, and crowds are happy to make it as hard as possible for visiting teams, but having said that people love watching good cricket, or good cricketers, wherever they`re from.

  • on February 10, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Vow, Mr Roebuck, beautifully written! Perhaps no team would survive even being in the test playing nations after what Pakistan have been through.Imagine all the countries decide not to tour Australia, rightly or wrongly, the whole nation would be so crestfallen that they would tamley start handing over wins after the confidence sapping few years, but not Pakistan. In Roebuck's own words, Pakistan are compelling, which other team can possibly play such scintillating cricket under these circumstances? We all know where Zimbabwe are. Pakistan cricket's contributions to world cricket are far too grand for it to fall without a footnote in history books. Abdul Qadir is one prominent name(surprisingly missed by Roebuch) which inspired the Shane Warnes and Mushtaqs and heralded a new era of compelling cricket. India with the richest cricket board and a billion people have not been able to produce a fast bowler of Wasim's class, now that says something about Pakistan's contribution.Viva...!!!

  • JimCooper on February 10, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    " Australia has a television station, SBS, given over overwhelmingly to immigrant communities."

    Why would that be a surprise in a country where more than 90% of the population either is, or is descended from, an immigrant?

  • Zahidsaltin on February 10, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    Pakistan needs SHANE WARNE as coach and AFRIDI as captain. They need a strong character with a winning mentality and no other than warne represent these qualities. They need to know that there is much difference between Greg Chappel's generation and Warne era's Aussies as long as cricket mentality goes....

    PCB needs to clarify why Kamran is not selected for T20 games. If its due to diciplinary matters than every one will support that but if its because of performances than PCB is surely run by stupid people as its not T20 where is performances with gloves will matter most. In T20 he is one of the best.

  • on February 10, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    Pakistan Just need a brave face in this time of uncertainty and no body is able to Put that up sorrily.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 10, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    Well said ianChappellFan - this is superficial nonsense masquerading as meticulous research!

    Inzy had " a fondness for shortcuts" - excuse me???

    "Zimbabwe's schools are second to none" ??? Is your public school fetish overriding your good sense again Peter?

    The whole tone of the piece is patronising - behind the superficial air of gravitas and deep research lie ill founded generalisations - truly a little knowledge is dangerous!

    Waqar "a sturdy, fast and skilful pace bowler"? Talk about damning with faint praise!! he was only the most lethal inswing bowler of all time!! Akram a "supreme speedster" - are we talking about the greatest left arm quickie of all time? Imran's "size and force of character"???!! Are we talking about one of the greatest all rounders in history who created the only team able to look the mighty West Indians squarely in the eye in the eighties?

    Roebuck is trying to add a liberal sheen to a persona previously exposed as extremely conservative - it is a sham!

  • MAK123 on February 10, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    every word of this article seems to come deep from the writer's heart. one wishes if the corrupt that is holding this unfortunate nation a hostage, could only feel 10% of what Peter Roebuck feels for this country. the problem lies not with the minor characters within the pak cricket set up but it begins right from the top

  • ravikant.kisana on February 10, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    Brilliant article but doesnt mention another great character of Pak cricket - Shoaib Akhter. Am an Indian, but have been a great fan of Pak cricket. It pained me a lot to see Pak show in Australia. Hopefully it will rebuild under the leadership of Afridi with talent like Aamer & Umar & Ajmal.

    I really wish they could have played in IPL, some of our Indian quicks could have learnt how to bowl over 140 kph!!!

  • PrakashES on February 10, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    Hi Peter, as always a very insightful article from you. This is the level of writing people expect from you these days! You have rightly mentioned that Pakistan has a great history in cricket and has produced some great players. But I am not so sanguine about their future. Until a few years ago they had a relatively stable country. But it is now a country that is falling apart. In the past suicide bombings were unheard of in Pakistan but now they are becoming very common. Unless Pakistan controls their population growth, improves education standards, encourages women to go to school and work,etc. the country will go further down. But alas I have no doubt that Pakistan will not just quietly go down. It will take a few other countries down along with it.

  • Man_pak on February 10, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Very Detailed and well researched article written by Peter Roebuck, Pakistan is a cricket loving nation and at the moment they are struggling because of different politics grounds in the area. No doubt Pak is a country with the great young talent and fine history, at the moment what i can suggest they just need to reunite and forget all happened in last few tours and strat thinking postive and play a good cricket by remmembering the old great cricketer of the country.As a pakistan nation , people should back there team up becasue team need there support and you will see more Imran, Wasim ,Inzi and Waqar in the team soon as we had seen some v good youn talent in the form of M Amir, Umer Akmal and many Under 19 player. At the end as a Pakistani team fan I wish them all the best for there future and next T20 world cup.Mansoor Amin

  • Fakhr on February 10, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Very Well written!! great article.. and ya the cricketing nations need to step up and save pak cricket!!

  • on February 10, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    100% Agreed what Peter has written about Pakistan cricket, but as a sincere Pakistani cricket fan (out of millions) I beleive that as we have overcome all the problems in past, lifted world cups and created world records. We will come out of the current mess and controversies and we will improve InshAllah. We should be optomistic and must find permenant solutions out of these temperory problems.

  • on February 10, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Very well written. Covered everything, from the independent to the last tour. But it should have been mentioned that after the 20/20 world cup win Pakistan team were overconfident while India who after winning the inaugural 20/20 world cup accelerated in the other two forms of cricket.

    But overall, this article really conveyed the message.

  • on February 10, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Peter, You are spot on in your very well written and good analysis. I am very impressed by your knowledge of PAK affairs, or did you get some help to understand the complicated issues of Pakistan. Anyways your article demands respect :-)

  • ianChappellFan on February 10, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    first of all i dont agree with the fact that the rise and fall of cricket will be linked to the nation itself, in the 80s pak cricket was over-achieving greatly (arguably no 2 after windies), with very limited talent (ehteshamuddin as the new ball bowler in 82 england!), even though the nation was no better than it is today. becasue of one or two larger than life personalities.

    if we can get one or two more of those now, this team can again be world beaters.

    btw pakistan is not generally referred to as india's northern neighbour but more like western neighbour.

    frankly speaking most of the above has already been written by many people (Osman Samiuddin for example) in various articles. and it doesnt help, if anything it hinders, since i feel pak teams are content at being the most enigmatic and compelling team, they dont have the desire to become the best, like the aussies do.

  • Jaani_Depp on February 10, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Fantastic stuff! Thank you for taking out the time to research our cricket and writing this piece. Its heartening to know that prominent personalities in the international cricket community are genuinely concenrned about the state of Pakistani cricket. Hopefully we'll entertain the crowds in England this summer with some high quality cricket.

  • on February 10, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    A very true description..I still feel that the even Greg Chappell wont last long..amid such a turmoil..!!

  • on February 10, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    great article. Thank you Mr. Roebuck for not only complementing Pakistani cricket in the way it deserves but also bringing to light the non-cricketing issues that have always influenced our teams performance on it. It is now more than ever that our team-and country-needs suuport to rebuild and nurture the promising talents that have always found a way to come forward in Pakistani cricket.

  • abdik on February 10, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Salute to Peter, After a long long time I have seen such a good well written and unbiased article on cricinfo. thumbS Up Peter..You are one of my favorite writer in cricket. Keep up the good work.

  • hasi82 on February 10, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Peter not just being pakistani(German), being postive person , you wrote such positive article. these days pakistan have no luck about sports, but we will come back with same power and fashon, we can rock the party as we did it.

  • Khurram_Bhatti on February 10, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    very well written article.....i cant believe that this article is written by a Non-Pakistani...this shows how he deeply touched with cricket history...well done Peter Roebuck...!!!

  • raza14 on February 10, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    What an analysis done by the author of This Nation, right from Senior most position of country (President), we are exactly what is told by Cricketer. Everyone knows our problem except ourselves.

  • IDurrani on February 10, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    Well, its an unbelievable article. Hats off to Peter. Although, I have some reservations about some of your comments, but by and large, its an outstanding article. In a few lines you have covered the whole story of Pak Cricket. Its' wonderful. I hope ppl at PCB understand the problems Pak Cricket is facing right now. We need a savior, immediately. Someone like Imran Khan... Hope we get someone like him soon!

  • MalikNadeemAwan on February 10, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    Hi and it is very well written about the Pakistan circket but there is not mention about Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar. Yes pakistan has great talent throghout but now Pakistan is lacking a good leader who can lead them and demolish all the negative thoughts in the team. So we can think better for Pakistan circket future and may be we can find another Imran Khan for survive.

  • on February 10, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Very nice article. It was a great charm to read this article.

  • IDurrani on February 10, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Well, its an unbelievable article. Hats off to Peter. Although, I have some reservations about some of your comments, but by and large, its an outstanding article. In a few lines you have covered the whole story of Pak Cricket. Its' wonderful. I hope ppl at PCB understand the problems Pak Cricket is facing right now. We need a savior, immediately. Someone like Imran Khan... Hope we get someone like him soon!

  • suhaibj on February 10, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    I cannot believe the level of sincerity and brilliant choice of words that this article displays.

    You express the sentiments of the hopeless optimists that the fans of Pakistan are. Despite all that goes wrong, people still believe that glory can be restored.

    We continue to hope when most others would lose hope. It is a miracle that the nation continues to survive despite 60 years of corruption.

    This article is a masterpiece.

  • maacars on February 10, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    it was a pleasure to read this article

  • jamrith on February 10, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    What is the purpose of this article ?

  • Atish_G on February 10, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I agree - power to Pakistan, long may its team last ! I am, however, a little worried about the prospect of Greg Chappell joining as coach. I hope that doesn't happen. The Chappell era was an utter disaster in Indian cricket, and it took some time for the team to recover. He might finish the Pakistan team, but then again, maybe not !

  • on February 10, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    thanks for this column.....its a gr8 work to sum up things,,,...thanks

  • CricFan78 on February 10, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Well written article Peter. However I have little sympathy with Pakistan since they have shot in their own foot over the years. They have allowed extremism to grow in their country and are now paying the price for it. We all would like to have strong Pakistan team in cricket but unless they fix their internal problems (accepting them will be first step) it is not going to happen soon.

  • adian on February 10, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    Nice article and good suggestions for the pakistani cricket team, but I guess Peter shud add his opinion that who shud be the right man to lead the team,,, the coach, and how to tackle the politics involve in the team this time,,,,, that wot i think would have make the article more productive,,,,but I am really impressed the way he analysed the country in every aspect. Hope the cricketing body will think a bit about the history pakistan have in cricket and will not let it down more,,,,Thanx Mr. Peter for this tremendous effort.....

  • cyborg909 on February 10, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Thank u for understanding and putting that understanding in such an articulate way. Bless u

  • sherishahmir on February 10, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    An eye opening atricle whcih showed the past glory and current state of Pakistan cricket. No doubt if the whole country in suffering from turmoil, the game has no exception to escape from its aftermaths .I hope the end of Pak cricket would not be same of Zimbabwe cricket, which in the end stripped off the world cricket from one of its most competative side and make the game boring & tasteless as we evidenced in 2007 world cup advenced round. At the other end one we being fans of cricket should feel sad that a country who is one of the top nation in having the best natural talented players could not refined them at the highest level because of nepotism, curruption and other social evils. Hope in time to come the reigns of cricket in pakistan would be in the hands of people who know the insights of game and once again the Pak team would be a leading side and serve the game to its best interest. Many thansk for Peter Roebuck and other friends for their good work.

  • punjaabimunda on February 10, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    Thanks Peter Roebuck for this great article... Thanks for relating politics to the cricket game... Thanks for exagerating the turmoil in Pakistan and creating desperate scenarios and mentioning falling institutions... Thanks for not mentioning that not so long ago, Pakistan team won the T20 World Cup... Thanks for not mentioning that Pakistan team reached the semi-final in Champions Trophy... But true thanks for mentioning the potential in Pakistan and its Cricket... Pakistan is here to stay and will stay... long live Pakistan... Amen

  • OmarBK on February 10, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    Amazing article...right on the money. good on you

  • on February 10, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    A thought provoking article based on sound analysis, well done Peter Roebuck

  • SanyogChaudhry on February 10, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Amazingly well articulated article, nowhere does the author try and take a swing at the current mess Pak team is in but still brings out the vital issues very delicately.

    Being an Indian, my support for my own team is obvious but to be frank none can remain un-touched with the genius of cricket that dwells in Pakistan. Still, I was sad the day Pak team lost in Sydney and sad again when they lost the only T20 match. I hope to hell that the Pak team does well in the future, come out stronger. India might be making new enemies in the world of cricket but how can we imagine a world without India-Pak rivalry. To good cricket and good intentions!

  • FSiraj on February 10, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    A very well written and thoughtful article Mr Roebuck ( i just signed on to cricinfo.com just to complement your article) Two thumbs up!!!

  • on February 10, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    Greetings from Singapore.Great article Peter.Have always been saying that our boys are extremely talented but are without any directions.Good to know that Greg Chappel is considering to become their coach.Believe me they can become a force in the near future.These guys are individual torpedos, just think if they all come together??At the moment they are on a rudderless ship with no directions.Revamp PCB and the team and see the results.Hope someone is listening !!!Best of Luck Pakistan.

  • imirfan on February 10, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    I had no intension of writing my comments.But some thing about this article forced me to say thankyou to Mr. Peter for such a detailed honest and full of hope article. We as a nation should learn rom history. I am sure the talen that w have we will still continue urprising the world in good or bad ways. Pakistan brings charm to this game of cricket. Once again Many many thanks to Mr Peter.

  • Just_Love_Cricket on February 10, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    A brilliant article indeed...

  • on February 10, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Very Well written. loved the last line.They are still the champ and will be very competitor of new millennium version due to tape tennis cricket.

  • on February 10, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Peter, only a Pakistani who has insight into its politics, culture and cricket could have written such an article. I am very impressed. Where did Peter learn all this? Presumably, he has never visited Pakistan. History, politics, social and religious conflicts all blended into the way Pakistan plays cricket. I believe Pakistan Cricket is in decline and would continue to descend unless the domestic governance improves. No matter how you see it, Pakistan Cricket team is exciting to watch, let us keep excitement going and throw Yousaf out of one day.

  • vizpers on February 10, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Azhar Ghumman:::

    Very well written article except for no mention of Shoaib Akhtar.

  • palvimd on February 10, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    True assessment of Pakistan as a nation and the sad status of it's sports' teams.Hopefully the people in charge of affairs will take a look at this article.Recommend to oost this article in local papers.

  • Immad_Pak on February 10, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    A very honestly written article that brilliantly highlights the plight of this country and the team. The country and the team both are in dire need of a direction and a perpose. Cricket in Pakistan unfortunately could never get itself disassociated from politics as a result it never got on its feet and though there were brief periods of brilliance witnessed from a highly talented team, the lack of infrastructure and consistency have always prevented this team from performing up to its potential. I share the writers thoughts though. This team needs to be saved not just for cricket but for the people of this nation where cricket is more than just a passion and a sport. It has become a phenomenon and a way of life for us!

  • cinder49 on February 10, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Excellent article. It is very easy to understand Imran Khan's logic for future. A common sense among Pakistani ellites, which is rarely common. Pakistan will continue its roller-coaster ride in the cricket world and will keep on entertaining people around. Yes, long may it last. (amen)

  • Sherz on February 10, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    This article has a personality Very compelling article- two-thumps up!

  • asim1 on February 10, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Well written, seemingly unbiased and quite refreshing. The team and the institution may seem down but counting them out is not an option, a younger core is developing around the older players, some consistency in the batting lineup will do a lot for the team... and some consistency in the management might bring some calm.

  • faforce on February 10, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    It's true. Though Pakistani teams tends to slap it's biggest fans in the face, it has been entertaining, and an important member in the cricketing world.

  • gilbert84 on February 10, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    It's hard not to feel sad for Pakistan. As you say, they have had so many wonderful players over the years and always exuded a swagger that now seems to be missing. Even when they are as low as they currently are you still get the feeling that when they put in the effort they can walk on to the field and destroy any team in the world. Better leadership and they may just become a top 3 team again.

  • shahid6995 on February 10, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Felt like I was reading my team's obituary until the last words. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • ATIULLAH on February 10, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    what a great article by peter roebuck.i think he is one of the best in business.... i enjoyed reading this . my alltime pak 11

    saeed anwar hanif mohd inzamam ul haq zaheer abbas javed miadad mohd yusef moin khan imran khan wasim akram waqar yunis saqlain mushtaq

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  • ATIULLAH on February 10, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    what a great article by peter roebuck.i think he is one of the best in business.... i enjoyed reading this . my alltime pak 11

    saeed anwar hanif mohd inzamam ul haq zaheer abbas javed miadad mohd yusef moin khan imran khan wasim akram waqar yunis saqlain mushtaq

  • shahid6995 on February 10, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Felt like I was reading my team's obituary until the last words. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • gilbert84 on February 10, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    It's hard not to feel sad for Pakistan. As you say, they have had so many wonderful players over the years and always exuded a swagger that now seems to be missing. Even when they are as low as they currently are you still get the feeling that when they put in the effort they can walk on to the field and destroy any team in the world. Better leadership and they may just become a top 3 team again.

  • faforce on February 10, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    It's true. Though Pakistani teams tends to slap it's biggest fans in the face, it has been entertaining, and an important member in the cricketing world.

  • asim1 on February 10, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Well written, seemingly unbiased and quite refreshing. The team and the institution may seem down but counting them out is not an option, a younger core is developing around the older players, some consistency in the batting lineup will do a lot for the team... and some consistency in the management might bring some calm.

  • Sherz on February 10, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    This article has a personality Very compelling article- two-thumps up!

  • cinder49 on February 10, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Excellent article. It is very easy to understand Imran Khan's logic for future. A common sense among Pakistani ellites, which is rarely common. Pakistan will continue its roller-coaster ride in the cricket world and will keep on entertaining people around. Yes, long may it last. (amen)

  • Immad_Pak on February 10, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    A very honestly written article that brilliantly highlights the plight of this country and the team. The country and the team both are in dire need of a direction and a perpose. Cricket in Pakistan unfortunately could never get itself disassociated from politics as a result it never got on its feet and though there were brief periods of brilliance witnessed from a highly talented team, the lack of infrastructure and consistency have always prevented this team from performing up to its potential. I share the writers thoughts though. This team needs to be saved not just for cricket but for the people of this nation where cricket is more than just a passion and a sport. It has become a phenomenon and a way of life for us!

  • palvimd on February 10, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    True assessment of Pakistan as a nation and the sad status of it's sports' teams.Hopefully the people in charge of affairs will take a look at this article.Recommend to oost this article in local papers.

  • vizpers on February 10, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Azhar Ghumman:::

    Very well written article except for no mention of Shoaib Akhtar.