Ever since I have started following Cricket I've heard two things about Pakistani Cricket Team..
1) When it's their day they are the World's most dangerous team.
2) Pakistan are inconsistent, they blow hot and cold far too much.
The first quote has been tagged with Pakistan Cricket since the early 1990's but critics say they have never played to their potential. With the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar in the fast bowling ranks, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Danish Kaneria in the spin department. Brilliant wicket keepers like Moin Khan, Rashid Latif, Kamran Akmal. Dangerous All-rounders such as Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi and Azhar Mehmood, World Class batsmen like Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-haq, Salim Malik, Ijaz Ahmed, Muhammad Yousuf.. Pakistan team was easily a world beater and could have ruled an era of cricket, but they never did just because they did not play up to their potential. There are many reasons for that...Match Fixing, Internal fighting, Jealousy and over confidence are a few visible ones.
|World Cup 1999 was the best example of how Pakistan can blow hot and cold.|
Pakistan are Inconsistent. They will beat Australia one day, they will lose to Ireland the other day. The only reason I see for this inconsistency is that they have always relied on Individual brilliance to win a match and never fought as a team unit. Some day Wasim and Waqar will rattle the opposition, the other day Inzamam or Yousuf will lead you out through a tough situation, next day you had Razzaq or Afridi winning you a match single handedly. In a team game Individual brilliance will win you a couple of matches here and there but you cannot win consistently.
They have played well in patches and there have been three of them which stand out. The best time perhaps that Pakistan had as a team was the two year period under Waqar Younis from January 2001 to December 2002. Here are the stats for the test and one day Internationals respectively. The highlights being the ODI series win in Australia and Test Series win in England.
Played: 54 Played: 18
Won: 35 Won: 11
Lost: 18 Lost: 6
W/L Ratio: 1.94 W/L Ratio: 1.66
The next best time they had was for a longer period August 2003 to December 2006 which was mostly under Inzamam-ul-Haq and Bob Woolmer when Pakistan were able to play consistently and without too much changes in the team. The highlights were the Series win in India and England.
Inzamam's era had its highs and lows though. The oval fiasco was the biggest of them. The most successful length of Pakistan cricket also ended in the worst possible way when Pakistan's World Cup dream ended in the first round in 2007.
Played: 87 Played: 35
Won: 51 Won: 15
Lost: 34 Lost: 11
W/L Ratio: 1.50 W/L Ratio: 1.36
The next best phase they are having is right now, under the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq and coaching of Waqar Younis (who just recently resigned, but played an integral part to unite the team after the spot fixing fiasco) and that is due to one simple reason. Pakistan are playing as a team and every player is looking to play its part and they definitely are not relying on Individual Brilliance. Although they have played just 10 Test matches their W/I ratio is better than any other team. On the other hand they have been the second most successful team in the ODI format with a W/L ratio of 2.44, only India have done better with a W/L ratio of 2.55.
Played: 32 Played: 10
Won: 22 Won: 4
Lost: 9 Lost: 1
W/L Ratio: 2.44 W/L Ratio: 4.00
As long as I have followed cricket I can easily say that this is the best 'TEAM' Pakistan has ever had as they are playing to their potential, and taking no credit away from Afridi, who along with the senior players, during the ODI series of the disastrous tour of England vowed to take Pakistan team at the top and ever since the South African series 2010-11 Pakistan have been consistent. So is it the best era of Pakistan Cricket?! It is early to suggest that and the real test of this team will come when they take on England earlier next year and perhaps India later, with the series in Srlianka and Australia's tour of Pakistan on the cards next year as well this will decide if Pakistan have left the 'Inconsistent' tag behind and firmly gripped the "World Beaters' one. :)