Editorial : After the setback - Friday 1st April 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/01/after-the-setback.html

IT should have been a great show but it wasn’t, primarily because we faltered when it mattered most. No team should expect to win a vital game if it drops a player like Tendulkar no less than four times and then, chasing a reasonable target, goes about its batting with remarkable ordinariness. Seasoned players who should know better on any given day, let alone a milestone occasion, played with a run-chase strategy that defied logic. The batting left a lot to be desired but in the final analysis it was our woeful fielding that cost us the game. Pakistan lost by 29 runs. How many of those runs could have been saved if the fielders had done the job expected of extravagantly paid professionals? They failed, miserably, and the batsmen weren’t far behind in an all-round show of incompetence. South Africa have for long been branded as chokers, a team that stutters when the pressure is on. Well, on Wednesday in Mohali, it was Pakistan that choked in a fashion that devastated the nation.
That said, it ought to be kept in mind that this was always going to be a contest. One team was going to win and in this instance it was Pakistan that lost. What the nation, and by extrapolation the country’s cricketing structure, has gone through in recent years would have stymied many a team right at the outset. Yet Pakistan fought it out and deserves to be commended for making it to the semi-finals of one-day cricket’s showcase event. As early as Thursday morning there were murmurings about corruption and an effort to deliberately throw the game. People who subscribe to conspiracy theories right off the bat — and there has been plenty of reason for that going back to the mid-1990s — should watch more cricket with a level head. The team isn’t always looking to do Pakistanis down, especially this one under Shahid Khan Afridi. The side couldn’t perform and that should be pretty much it if one isn’t a magnet for rumour-mongering. Let’s give the Pakistan team a rousing reception when it comes home.

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