Pakistan are struggling on almost all fronts at the moment © AFP
Pakistan are struggling on almost all fronts at the moment © AFP

A recent defeat against Bangladesh and a poor show against India has thrown Pakistan cricket in disarray, with many pundits not reckoning them as one of the favourites for ICC T20 World Cup 2016. Not to forget, Pakistan are among the former world champions in the shortest format of cricket but looking at their recent performances, they certainly cannot be termed among the top sides. Pakistan won two and lost as many in the recently-concluded Asia Cup T20 2016, and to say that they are somewhere at the bottom of the pool could be a little exaggerating. The only burning question in Pakistan cricket at present — apart from the retirement of Shahid Afridi — is that are they really frail?

Though Pakistan have historically been blessed with raw talent that shines for a short span and diminishes quickly, it will be a big risk for any team that treats Afridi’s company as a frail, underperforming body. Pakistan may have been misfiring, but the unpredictability of T20 cricket may work in their favour if they are willing to shed negativity and focus on a collective goal. ALSO READ: Rohit Sharma, how can you call Mohammad Aamer just ‘a normal bowler’?

During the Salaam Cricket event in New Delhi this Monday, Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to write Pakistan off, though he agreed that Pakistan are truly struggling in all departments. Kapil Dev felt they need a sturdy character, maybe a caretaker like Imran Khan; and Wasim Akram expressed all they need to do is to score runs and the bowling would follow.

The room for debate is hotly contested when a team is not performing well, but it becomes daft to write off someone as unpredictable as Pakistan. The recent reports of differences between Afridi and coach Waqar Younis have signalled that Pakistan is a divided house, and if that is true, they really are in trouble. ALSO READ: ICC T20 World Cup: Is Pakistan right in delaying their arrival to India?

To analyse the current state of Pakistan cricket, it will be appropriate to start with batting. Batsmen let down Pakistan in Asia Cup T20 2016, and one or two changes in the outfit may not spark change that they seek. It can only happen when batsmen play with responsibility and do not crumble under pressure, which will be immense during the tournament in India. Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed were the only two batsmen who showed gumption — that too only sporadically — during Asia Cup. It will not be an exaggeration to say they carry the hopes, but an ideal situation would be to have every single member of the team pulling in his weight.

Pakistan looked like they depended on Mohammad Aamer more than they should have. Wahab Riaz struggled, and Mohammad Irfan did everything but took wickets. If this continue, the only department which Pakistan are banking on may fall apart and what will be left is a huge challenge for them to make up for the loss.

Asia Cup also witnessed poor fielding effort from Pakistan, which is sacrilege when it comes to T20 cricket; if they do not take corrective measures at the earliest, ICC World T20 2016 can be a nightmare for Pakistan.

With batsmen misfiring, bowlers not clicking together and fielders being terribly sloppy, Pakistan are likely to have troubles soaring upwards. In their current state, Pakistan do look frail but if they are able to turn tables around in a new tournament with a fresh mindset, they can rapidly emerge as one of the top sides.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)