Bengaluru, June 17: Hell has broken loose after Pakistan made a meek surrender to India in their World Cup clash at Old Trafford on Sunday (June 16). Winning the toss was the only thing that went right for Sarfaraz Ahmed's side as India took control of things the moment the rivals took the field.
Rohit Sharma blasted 140 and captain Virat Kohli lashed 77 to power India to 336 for 5 in 50 overs. KL Rahul, who opened in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, also scored a magnificent fifty. The Pakistani bowlers had a horrendous outing as there was no discipline whatsoever. Missing an easy run-out chance of Rohit made things even worse for the Men in Green.
In batting, too, things fell apart after a 100-run partnership between opener Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam showed some hope. At 166 for 6, Pakistan were gasping for breath and after they returned to bat after yet another rain interruption, 136 runs were required in five overs and the match was well and out of their reach.
The fans and former Pakistan cricketers were distraught with their team's performance. Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar even called Sarfaraz a "brainless captain".
The thing is that these reactions are too much emotion-filled. It is not the first time that the mediocrity of the current Pakistan side has been exposed. Perhaps, the fans were still believing that a repeat of the Champions Trophy final will happen but Pakistan have been thrashed three times in a row by India since that final (beaten seven times out of nine last meetings) and it is well-established a fact now that the 2017 CT final victory was a one-off success for Sarfaraz's men.
If one keeps aside the nationalist zeal, comparing the current national cricket teams of India and Pakistan is a futile exercise. Pakistan were a better side in the 90s but now, India have pipped them. And this betterment hasn't happened just because India have produced big hitters. That's only one part of the story.
India have taken great leaps forward to make its cricket a multi-functioning industry while Pakistan have remained stuck in non-management and medieval mindset. There is certainly no dearth of talents in Pakistan but there is no system to bring out those talents either.
While events like the Indian Premier League have taken cricket to the grassroots level and exposing local talents to global names and brands, Pakistan do not even play on their own soil because of disruptive elements.
Bashing and shaming the national cricketers won't help much. The likes of Shoaib Akhtar must remember that even teams that had featured Pakistan's greatest names in cricket - Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and others have not succeeded India at the World Cup.
Hence, only lacking in skills certainly is not the reason for Pakistan's defeats against the arch-rivals on the highest stage. Blaming teams and players who are far moderate in talent is going to take Pakistan nowhere. Sitting down together for the betterment of the game nationally is what Pakistan needs today. But it seems their former players are only liking to rant on without a purpose.