Pakistan was crashed out of Asia Cup 2018 after being beaten by Bangladesh in the final match of Super Four. This was one of the worst performances by the green shirts in recent times as it was defeated by India twice, won a closely-contest match against Afghanistan and only defeated Canada.
Before the tournament, the cricket analysts and fans were hoping that Pakistan will at least reach the final of the tournament easily due to its recent form but it did not happen. The national team’s performance was dull, un-catchy and immature.
Following are most probable reasons for Pakistan’s disappointing performance in Asia Cup.
FAILURE OF TOP ORDER,…AGAIN!:
The openers have remained a longstanding problem for Pakistani team since Amir Sohail and Saeed Anwer. The team management and captains have been experimenting with openers constantly but somehow the issue is still there. The duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq was relatively successful in recent tours but it crashed during Asia Cup. Fakhar Zaman got out in all matches rather cheaply, except against Bangladesh due to an excellent catch. The opponent teams have found his weakness against spinners hence the bad performance.
TOO MUCH DEPENDENCE ON YOUNGSTERS:
Pakistan selection committee dropped senior player Muhammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali, despite their good performances in One Day Internationals (ODIs), especially in ICC Champions Trophy. Azhar formed a good opening pair in the Champions Trophy giving Pakistan strong starts throughout the tournament, but still, he was dropped. Meanwhile, Hafeez was also another surprise exclusion from the team as management chose a young middle order except for Shoaib Malik. During the tournament, Malik showed the importance of the senior player in the team as he was the only one holding up the middle order and won the match for the team against Afghanistan.
Since ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan team was hailed for its fielding, which has never been the forte of the green shirts, and fitness. Head coach Micky Arthur was credited for the change and Pakistani fans were hoping that catch-dropping fielding days are over but the national team is apparently on its old habits. Before the last match, Pakistan fielders have dropped six catches and held five. Further, Cricinfo presented a chart about Pakistan’s fielding before and after the retirement of former fielding coach Steve Rixon.
CAPTAIN’S POOR FORM:
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s last good performance was against Sri Lanka in ICC Champions Trophy where he won the match for the team, but since then, he his batting average has slumped down. He even pushed himself up the order and scored 44 on 66 balls, but again failed against Bangladesh in the last match and scored only 10 runs. His form was one of the major reasons for the disappointing performance of the team in the tournament.
After the defeat from India in the first match, the team somehow went into the defence mode giving an upper hand to the oppositions. Sarfraz even removed the first slip during first 15 over which he has not done before the tournament. The defensive approach by the team benefited other teams and they scored easily in middle orders. Same happened during the last match against Bangladesh, which gives a chance to Mushfiqur Rehman and Muhammad Mithun to settle, although they were 13-3 at one point.