To be happy on one’s success is one thing, and to be happy on seeing others failing is other. If, only for a moment, we examine the plight of cricket inPakistan, we can easily find the reason Pakistani cricket fans have to be glad, to cheer and to forget some of the recent abysmal performances of Pakistani cricket players – the persistent dismal performance of the Australians, because it was the Australians who spiflicated and tormented Pakistan’s cricket, at a time when the Pakistani team had a number of impressive and talented players playing for the country. And I doubt Pakistan would ever get that endowment of playing with so much talent in a team.
Whatever happened with the Pakistan team in the World Cup final of 1999 at Lord’s is barely forgettable. And then there is the fact that Pakistan had to wait for 15 long years to win a Test match against Australia, finally winning a Test match in 2010 in Headingley to level the series.
In these times, a number of Pakistani players applauded the Australian cricket culture and often furiously uttered in favour of developing a cricketing culture and system in Pakistan like the Australians. Nobody could dare to contradict these purveyors because of the apparent success of the Aussies – their way seemed immaculate.
And there is an Australian team now. Some months ago, the Indians trounced them in a home series. Now England have overcome them. There are some sane voices, emerging from different corners of the cricketing world, accusing the Australian cricket system of ‘not being suitable’ to produce Test cricketers. In fact, Australia seems to have snatched all the ‘prerogatives’ the cricketing world has conferred upon Pakistan. Yes, they are earnestly spotting the footsteps of Pakistanis and emulating them with good accuracy. They are the new Pakistan in the cricketing arena.
Insisting on the point that Australia is the new Pakistan holds substance because of the semblances both teams have. Both have got impressive bowlers who consistently perform well and almost always keep their teams in the match, ultimately witnessing their teams lose because of the poor performance of the batsmen. Also, both teams have a bunch of promising players yet to do justice to their talent. And apart from this, they are teams stricken with chaos and internal strife. Indeed, Australia is mired in trouble.
Australia has become an ordinary team. They have lost their influence and opponents do not feel anxious about playing with them. But some might say the Australian team is going through a transition phase and that is worthy of some pathos. If the team now seems average on paper, it is because the retirement of some key players have hit them badly. And this has happened to a cricketing nation that consistently proclaimed of being capable of producing and supplying top-quality players because of the ‘culture’ and the ‘system’ they have developed over time. Whatever happened to that ‘culture’ and that ‘system’?
And then there is the off-field plight of the Australians, which is absolutely inexcusable. Plagued by poor discipline and culture, Australia has also demonstrated how desperate they are to win, often overlooking matters of indiscipline. Perhaps the lust of a win prevented them from taking any decisive action against David Warner, alleged of punching England’s Joe Root.
The woes of the most successful and revered cricketing nation of the world might not end soon, for it takes time to cultivate professionalism and discipline.
Let’s hope Australian cricket will not be the victim of a nosedive like Pakistan and the West Indies.