Were usually not known as a patient or tolerant or gracious people. In both victory and defeat, we can never quite handle the outcome like responsible grown-ups. Indeed, our masses are wont to descend on the streets and main squares and break out into erratic and convulsive movements which to them is the act of Paa-ing bhangra. As victors, we can never really come to terms with the fact that we have really won because you dont expect the words Pakistani and champion to be used in the same sentence anymore.It wasnt always like this. During my childhood, which consisted of the 80s and the 90s, Pakistan was truly on top. In my eighth year I witnessed the real King Khan bringing home a beautifully crafted crystal World Cup Trophy. Before him, Messrs Jahangir and Jansher Khan used to make short work of any and all opposition in the squash courts. Grand Master Ashraf Tai, Samiullah, Shahbaz Senior and Junior were all-powerful in their respective fields. The average Pakistanis chest would swell with pride when they saw these sportsmen accomplish feats seemingly impossible for a mere mortal.So it was no big surprise for me when after having made up his mind to return after the semis Boom Boom Afridi led his men back from Mohali with shopping bags in their hands instead of a trophy and laurels. There is no doubt that these boys performed exceptionally well considering the kind of odd unit they were. But during the entire World Cup, I and many others I spoke to felt a great big vacuum in the Pakistani camp, one of charisma and skill. While the Green Shirts are famously raw in talent but high on flair, this years World Cup outing (if you evaluate players performances tactically rather than statistically) was one of weak performances. Younis Khan could only fire against the minnows and barely managed double figures in most of our big matches. The Akmal Brothers remained unimpressive as ever and Umar Guls performance was nothing to write home about. The few standout performances ironically came from youngsters Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hafeez, who took on their newfound responsibilities surprisingly well. But I must say (with profound regret and a heavy heart) that the standout disappointment of their World Cup campaign for me was Mon Capitan himself.For all his explosive reputation, Afridis captaincy remained lacklustre and he did not demonstrate the character or the gamesmanship of a great skipper who can lead from the front. From not taking power plays on time to wasting reviews and being exceptionally cowardly in bringing himself on to bowl, nothing he did indicated that he was ready to shoulder properly the responsibility of leading the cricketing side of one of few countries where the silly game of cricket is nothing less than a religion. Here, every street urchin, every bearded uncle and every spoilt brat has an opinion or two about the way the cricket team is to be run. The irony gets steeper here, because most of these irrelevant people have opinions more sound and logical than the decisions taken by the Pakistan Cricket Butt.While I do not mean to imply that all is gloom and doom and the state of cricket in Pakistan is unsalvageable. Indeed, there are many positives that one can take away from the teams performance in the World Cup. But no one in their right minds can say that our team did the best they could when it mattered most. I mean people who play cricket professionally cannot be forgiven for making rookie mistakes. This, however, is more our fault than the players. You see, grooming an international cricketer is no easy task and a cricketing nation requires a solid domestic set up and a tight touring schedule, where teams come and play against us regularly. Our team, you must remember, must play all their matches abroad. Never in the past several years, ever since the Sri Lanka team was attacked in Lahore, have these players competed in a fixture in front of a home crowd. They dont know what big match pressure at home is really all about.But our audience is never interested in domestic cricket. Even the national T20 championships are held to empty stands. When the people care so little about the sport, it is only natural that the players will mirror their concern for winning. Giving our team the winning edge, therefore, boils down to us not just supporting them through thick and thin, but also by going to see them play in the National, Gadaffi and Ayub stadiums. After all, if we dont come to the ball game, the ball game wont come to us.The writer is a broadcast journalist.