In a surprising twist of fate, Pakistan’s cricketing landscape is undergoing a seismic shift following the announcement of star batter Babar Azam’s resignation as captain, just days after the team’s disappointing exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. This decision marks a sharp decline for Pakistan, who had attained the pinnacle of ICC one-day international (ODI) rankings under Azam’s leadership in May.
Adding fuel to the fire, former Pakistani cricketer and Afghan coach Rashid Latif launched a blistering attack, attributing the nation’s cricketing woes to the ban on betting websites. Latif voiced concerns about the unnecessary cloud hovering over the cricketing ecosystem, underscoring its adverse effects on Pakistan’s cricketing prowess.
Compounding the challenges, Pakistan’s bowling coach, Morne Morkel, resigned with one month remaining on his six-month contract. The Pakistan Cricket Board remained tight-lipped on the reasons behind the departure of the former South African fast bowler, who assumed his role in June. Morkel’s tenure saw a mix of triumphs, including a successful two-test series in Sri Lanka, and setbacks, with the team falling short in white-ball cricket and missing the Asia Cup final.
The absence of fast bowler Naseem Shah due to injury significantly impacted Pakistan’s performance in the Cricket World Cup, culminating in a fifth-place finish and a missed spot in the semifinals. Addressing the potential influence of Morne Morkel, Rashid Latif boldly declared the end of the era of foreign coaches in the Indian subcontinent, pointing to the purported lack of credentials of the World Cup coach.
In an exclusive interview featured in NewsX, Latif implored Pakistan to draw lessons from India’s cricket development model, emphasizing the pivotal role of academies and first-class cricket in nurturing talent. He commended India’s decade-long endeavors, lauding the creation of a robust talent pool across all cricketing departments.
As Pakistan cricket stands at a crossroads, the nation eagerly anticipates the appointment of new leadership and strategies to revitalize its cricketing fortunes. The specter of Latif’s criticism, coupled with the challenges faced under Babar Azam’s captaincy, casts a looming shadow, necessitating a thorough examination of the path forward for Pakistan cricket.
Rashid Latif’s unique perspective emanates from his extensive cricketing career, spanning ODI cricket for Team Pakistan from 1992 to 2003, and his previous roles as a coach for Team Afghanistan in 2010 and as the chief selector for Team Pakistan in 2014.
Sunil Yash Kalra is a women’s cricket historian and founder of Indian Sports Fans.