Pakistan can be such a romantic team. They’re essentially homeless. Have a giant. Are captained by a nice human piñata. Coached by an aged cherub. Have a yoda-like spinner. The Jamshed. And, as always, have a quality kit.
But, they’ve lost three from three.
It’s hard to fault their bowlers. It’s easy, and utterly correct, to blame their batsmen.
It’s hard to see how Imran Farhat would play in any other team in this tournament. Or even for Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Japan. Yet he played twice. TWICE. Mohammad Hafeez faced 61 balls, had a high score of 27 and an average of 12.66. Shoaib Malik faced 53 balls, had a high score of 17 and averaged 8.33. They had three players score over 27 in three games.
Nasir Jamshed and Misbah-ul-Haq aside, it’s almost unfair to call them batsmen. Their batting is essentially rotten fruit sitting in rancid milk in the bottom of a rusted can. Even the rats wouldn’t eat it.
It’s not really a surprise that their totals were 170, 167 and 165. If they played against India again, it would only be fair if India had just 25 overs in which to chase their total. You could also suggest that Pakistan could have 100 overs, but the evidence suggests they can’t last 50, let alone 100.
Their coach, Dav Whatmore, said, “I thought he did a very good job.” He was referring to Trent Woodhill, Pakistan’s batting coach. If by ‘did a very good job’ he refrained from beating any of the players with their own bats when they were dismissed, he is correct.
Against India, with Misbah and Jamshed failing, they seemed as likely to score 200 as any of them are of ending up 200 years old.
They even managed to lose the game on a ball they should have got a run-out from. By the end of the game the holes in the crowd were where the people in the green shirts, with the green face paint, wearing green scarves had been earlier.
The real shame was that the Pakistan supporters deserved so much better. Every time Pakistan have played in this tournament there has barely been a spare seat. They’ve travelled to the grounds in novelty green double-deck buses. They’ve stood and waited for their heroes for ages after the game. At The Oval, Ramiz Raja walking out on the ground was greeted like he was a god. Wasim Akram walking out was treated like the god of gods. They’ve come to each game, and even sat and watched their team bat. Which must have hurt their pride, and their eyes.
It’s amazing that they even had the pride, or energy, to dance to the repeated playings of the catchiest song ever, “Dil Dil Pakistan”. In fact, “Dil Dil Pakistan” was played more often in this tournament than Pakistan hit boundaries. By the final group game, if a Pakistan batsman managed to not be dismissed on a delivery, they would play the song. Because they couldn’t actually wait for one of them to doing something good.
The only truly great thing the Pakistan team managed this tournament was a Pepsi ad starring Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan. The ad features someone removing a room service tray only to see Irfan’s head: a painted Irfan pretending to be a water feature to trick Dav Whatmore. And Saeed Ajmal in an afro. The ad was meant as a comedy, and is quite funny.
Unlike the Pakistan team, which was meant to be serious and played for laughs.
As Whatmore said: “We’re one ODI victory from having a good series.” Or to put it another way, they were one ODI victory away from being thrown out of the tournament with one win.