Pakistan may take another 10 years to be a major force again in Test cricket: Asif Iqbal

Asif Iqbal (above) said that Misbah-ul-Haq should not captain the Pakistan one-day side, but there is still room for him in Test cricket © Getty Images

By Saj Sadiq

Asif Iqbal predicts a period of long struggle for the Pakistan cricket team. Iqbal, one of the finest captains of Pakistan, drew the depressing conclusion after Pakistan’s struggle against minnow Zimbabwe in the recent Test series.

Excerpts from an interview with PakPassion:

Unacceptable to lose a Test match to Zimbabwe

It’s understandable if a major Test playing nation occasionally loses in a limited overs match to one of the lesser sides like Bangladesh or Zimbabwe as luck plays an integral part in such games, but it’s simply unacceptable to lose to one of the minnows in Test cricket. 

To lose to the current Zimbabwe team in a Test match that after scraping a victory in the first Test of the series must rank amongst Pakistan’s lowest points in its cricketing history.

This result against Zimbabwe must trigger the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and those with a vested interest in Pakistan cricket into action. 

Blame for poor Zimbabwe series lies squarely on the Pakistani players

The responsibility for such a poor showing in Zimbabwe has to be on the Pakistani players. You cannot point fingers at the PCB, the selectors or the coaching staff. People will point the finger at the coach but he’s not the one who’s out there in the middle performing so badly. The lack of responsibility and effort shown by some players was alarming. 

Some of the players in Zimbabwe have had so many chances and so many opportunities yet continue to perform badly. I don’t see why or how some players can be given so many opportunities in Test cricket when they are clearly not good enough. 

Lack of world class cricketers

If we had world class cricketers in Pakistan then they would have been out there in Zimbabwe. There are no world class cricketers from Pakistan who weren’t in Zimbabwe. The calibre of our batsmen is fairly low and if you are not making 300 runs plus on a regular basis in Test cricket then you are going to struggle against all teams.

In recent times we have been proud of our world class bowling talent, but from what I saw against Zimbabwe even the bowlers weren’t all that great. Saeed Ajmal was particularly disappointing in the second Test match. 

The talent is simply not there in Pakistan. If you do not have the talent then I’m afraid there isn’t much you can do other than giving youngsters a chance and rebuild for the future. I believe investing in youth is the way forward. Throw some youngsters in at the deep end and see how they perform. However it could be up to 10 years before Pakistan is a major force in Test cricket again.

Misbah’s future as captain

I don’t think there’s room now for Misbah-ul-Haq in the one-day side and he should be replaced in the team and as captain in that format. I don’t think performances by the one-day side have been good enough of late under Misbah and a fresh outlook is needed in the 50-over format. As far as the Test side is concerned, Misbah should continue as captain. Results have not been great and performances in South Africa and Zimbabwe have been below par but the reality is that I don’t think there is anyone willing or ready to take over the Test captaincy.

(Saj Sadiq is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net, from where the above article has been reproduced. He can be followed on Twitter at @Saj_PakPassion)