Fixing our cricket

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The loss faced by the Pakistan Cricket Team in New York against India can be described as nothing short of humiliating. After restricting tournament favourites India to a below-par score of 119, Pakistan’s bowling attack sat in the dugout and watched their batsmen collapse in front of the Indian bowling.

At one point, Pakistan needed 40 odd runs from as many balls with eight wickets in hand. The defeat comes fast on the heels of the team’s loss to the United States in the T20 World Cup and all but disqualifies Pakistan from the tournament.

People are quick to point fingers, and there is a lot that the players did wrong. What we must look towards, however, are the recent events that have shaken the Pakistan Cricket Board. Remember, this is the same team that went to the semi-final of the 2021 T20 World Cup undefeated, were finalists in the last edition of the tournament and have generally proven themselves a world class side on numerous occasions.

In the past year, Pakistan’s cricket board has been in a mess. The Chairman’s spot has been rotating wildly and the latest appointee, Mohsin Naqvi, was Chief Minister of Punjab when he took on the job and is now also the Interior Minister. This kind of unserious attitude towards cricket is disappointing from the board’s political patrons.

What we often forget is that Pakistan’s cricket economy is very real and thanks to the HBL PSL is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The key component to this are Pakistan’s players, who have proven their worth internationally. Thanks to the changes in the board, however, this once well-balanced team has also fallen prey to familiar infighting and politicization.

The cornerstone of a good cricketing nation is having strong business fundamentals for the sport. For this, players need to be represented by a player’s union to be safe from the whims and wishes of a politically appointed cricket administration. Until we sort out these basic problems, losses like the one to India will become much more common.

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