There is no experience in life that cannot be analysed, and the Pakistani cricket team's failures are no exception. But it is more important to focus on seeking a clearer understanding of the problems involved rather than ingeniously shifting the onus of disappointments onto circumstances and individuals - a common but unproductive method of interpreting and benefiting from experience.

It is wiser, therefore, not to dwell on any particular match or series. The problem is fundamental, structural and chronic, almost endemic. Pakistan have had successes in the past, but there has been no consistent pattern of achievement. Indeed, this inconsistency provides the key understanding the problem.

A team relying exclusively on individual brilliance - which has its own ups and downs - and susceptible to the mood of the moment cannot succeed all the time. It is easily noticeable that most of Pakistan's famous victories, especially against quality teams, have either been by narrow margins or by the heroic efforts of a few outstanding individuals. One of the rare examples of a truly authentic team effort was the victory at the 1992 World Cup.

Cricket today is fiercely competitive because of huge sums of money involved due to television rights and commercial sponsorship. Almost every team, therefore, has been offered the chance to play top-grade cricket, but only those that have perfected a methodical and competitive way of playing the game are excelling.

These sides rely on superlative fitness, modern and scientific coaching, and well-planned strategies based on technological and technical studies of opponents. It has been a delight to watch the Australian team exhibiting exceptional commitment to excellence, underpinned by an astounding sense of self-discipline, tenacity and brilliant teamwork. It made Pakistan look extremely inept in Kenya, to say the least.

Pakistan have always played by different rules. The team likes to believe in the supernatural, often wanting to blunder or gamble its way to success. What transpired in the Morocco Cup or in the matches against Australia in Nairobi was nothing new for those who follow Pakistani cricket. It was merely the repetition of a familiar pattern of failure.

For starters, Pakistan have no genuine coach and have never really had one. Talent invariably resists coaching, and Pakistan is indeed a very talented outfit. That has especially been the story of Pakistani cricket in recent years. Coaches are supposed to be technical experts, strategists and motivators, whether in cricket or football. One only needed to see the deeply absorbed and wrenched faces of coaches during the recent football World Cup to realise their deep involvement.

The absence of good coaching in cricket, however, can be compensated to some extent by an outstanding captain, for such is the nature of the game. Except for a few high-class all-rounders and motivators - and thus coach-cum-captains such as Imran Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad and Kardar - Pakistan never boasted a captain who could claim all-round versatility and expertise.

Waqar Younis is a bowler of exceptional ability, but he has an obvious shortcoming in that he cannot work out a good batting strategy since he is not a batsman. It is little wonder then that most of Pakistan's wins during his captaincy have come about from successes in bowling and despite batting failures. Mudassar Nazar may be very personable and congenial, helping to lift team spirit - I hear he sings very well - but I am not sure if he is a great batting genius or strategist or even a motivator.

With such a self-willed and highly talented team, only those coaches who have followed the path of least resistance have survived - those who do the team's bidding. That is why people like Mudassar and Intikhab Alam have been very popular with the team, as their role has mainly been that of a friend rather of a teacher.

Modern cricket cannot be run that way. Since Imran Khan's departure most of Pakistan's captains have been either bowlers or wicket-keepers and neither batting strategists nor inspirational leaders. The team on the batting side has therefore been entirely on its own. Its output has rested exclusively on individual talent, and we have owed our successes as much as our failures to individual performances.

The biggest weakness in the batting is that there is no conscious formula for success. The batting order keeps fluctuating, so the batsmen do not develop proper affinity and understanding with each other. The running between wickets is extremely unprofessional, always unsuited to the occasion. There is little commitment to build a partnership, and equally little strategy for batting collapses and panic attacks.

Strategy counts far more in one-day cricket than in Test cricket, where time allows you scope and space to devise a game plan appropriate to the challenge. Since certain vital elements count even more in a pressure situation, it explains Pakistan being a poor chaser in one-day internationals.

Pakistan's batting order suffers from a sort of domino effect, failing when least expected to. Yousuf Youhana, an exceptional talent, does not always rise to the occasion. He succeeds and fails - both unexpectedly. Inzamam-ul-Haq, one of the most accomplished batsmen in modern cricket and a sheet anchor of the team, seems to have now unfortunately decided to focus perhaps more on Test cricket than on one-day cricket - perhaps because he could not reconcile the two different techniques.

Another vital point is match temperament. Pakistan do not play really competitive cricket at home, and what passes for domestic cricket is a mere apology. The administrators need to reorganise it to make it more competitive, forcing the national players to participate as well. The national stars hardly play any domestic cricket, and their participation is only cosmetic, so naturally young players, after coming into the national team, eschew domestic cricket as well.

Whatever domestic cricket these players may have seen before their elevation to the top level has been of rather ordinary standards. That is another reason that Pakistan is so prone to unexplained failures. Competitiveness teaches mental toughness, and that I am afraid is missing in our otherwise talented and attractive team. But the situation is not beyond redemption, and I wish the team a great success in the future.

The auther is the Pakistani ambassador to Japan. These are his personal views.