The last ODI at Cardiff holds its own importance for Azhar Ali and his men © Getty Images
The last ODI at Cardiff holds its own importance for Azhar Ali and his men © Getty Images

One loss after the other. Pakistan have been on the receiving end, of a side that had once been what they are now. From Southampton to Leeds, the climax has been identical almost everywhere Pakistan have travelled wearing green outfit. Eoin Morgan’s vibrant England ODI side has added in Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur’s notebook, a number of points that need introspection, gaping holes that need to be healed. Much in a similar way to what Albert Einstein said about life,”Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving,” Pakistan can’t afford to stand still, or ponder upon failure. They, are definitely on the verge of transformation after a No.9-like display in the ODI series. But with one final clash at Cardiff left, can they somehow spring up to find a consolation win, a win that would do them a world of good? FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England, 5th ODI at Cardiff

The five-match ODI series, ever since its start has just one away from Pakistan; far, far and away, beyond reach. They never looked good enough to win it from England. Their captain has been under criticism, the coach has given the unit a warning, the legends have been left fuming and amidst all this, Pakistan’s outdated limited-overs brand of cricket has still continued, with no results in their favour. They now face a might challenge in front of them to avoid a 5-0 series whitewash, at the hands of England who have never achieved that feat, ever. READ: Pakistan vs England, 5th ODI at Cardiff: Likely XI for Azhar Ali and co.

Perhaps, a transformation is on its way. But the two games left on the tour to England, one 50-over game at Cardiff and one-off T20 international at Manchester, are the last opportunities for anyone who desires to become a part of Arthur’s action-plan. It’s a chance to deliver and buy a ticket for the next limited-overs series. It is almost as if the train is leaving the station, all those who want to get on-board, must rush now. READ: Mickey Arthur warns Pakistan ODI side following 4th ODI defeat to England

While the next game might be a dead-rubber, it does hold its own importance for Azhar Ali and his men. Perhaps, every ODI game they approach from now on, will have its own value. They have been outclassed in the series, and they know it. They lie at the ninth position in the ICC team rankings and now they also know why they are stuck there.

Coming from a high-spirited Test performance against Alastair Cook’s men, when Misbah-ul-Haq’s warriors scripted a series leveling 2-2, win at Kennington Oval, Pakistan have been exactly the opposite of themselves. The No.1 Test-ranked team in the world is at an embarrassing No.9 in the ODI list.

“It is what it is,” said Arthur, who only took over as Pakistan coach in May. “I hate the phrase, but we are number nine in the world and we can see why.” Arthur has a massive task at hands now, but first he has to know who are the men who can take Pakistan’s limited-overs cricket on their shoulders to new heights, bring back their lost stature.

Before his team go out on the field at Cardiff, a motivational speech might pump up the men-in-green, for they have a shameful series loss to avoid. Only, what they do on the pitch will matter, and nothing less than their A game will be enough. They, by now, know that. It’s time, they bring out that. At least then, the first brick in a to-be-constructed wall, will be laid.

(Karan Dewana reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning. Follow him on his twitter handle @karan13dewan)