As Pakistan cricket team is seen struggling in the ongoing World Cup Down Under, there are at least a couple of players, born and also had played first-class cricket in Pakistan, are now performing well for other teams in the tournament.
Although there are also players in Afghanistan team, who have played domestic cricket in Pakistan, but unlike South Africa’s Imran Tahir and UAE’s Shaiman Anwar, players in Afghanistan were of Afghan origin. They came to Pakistan as refugees from their war-torn country.
Imran Tahir was born in Lahore and represented Pakistan U-19 and Pakistan ‘A’ but he never got an opportunity to represent Pakistan national team. He also had many county stints before making it to the South Africa squad in January 2011.
Imran is now bowling well in the ongoing World Cup and has been the highest wicket-taker for the team against West Indies, taking five wickets. He was also the highest wicket-taker against Zimbabwe taking three wickets and took one against India, which the Proteas eventually lost.
Meanwhile, Shaiman Anwar, born in Sialkot and having represented his birth city in Pakistan’s domestic tournament, is now playing for UAE.
In World Cup matches, Anwar has turned out to be the backbone of UAE batting line so far. He scored 67 off only 50 balls against full member Zimbabwe and was the top scorer for the side. However, Zimbabwe, a much experienced side eventually prevailed by four wickets in the match with only two overs to spare.
But Anwar’s dream inning for the side came in the next outing when he recorded first ever century by a UAE cricketer in a World Cup match. He scored a whirlwind 106 off 83 balls to help his team recover from 131-6 in 35th over to eventually post a competitive total of 278-9.
Match favorites Ireland, who defeated West Indies in their previous match, found it a difficult task to pull a narrow two-wicket victory with only four balls remaining.
As Pakistan struggles with form especially with bat losing matches against India and West Indies by big margins, Anwar, has almost singlehandedly helped UAE stay above Pakistan on points table with a much better net run-rate, after conceding a couple of close defeats.
Pakistan at the moment has worst run-rate in the tournament and is the only team with a negative run-rate of over 2 in both pools, while underdog UAE is sitting above former champions Pakistan with a negative run-rate of less than 1.
These anomalies show that Pakistan has immense talent, but little or flawed process to polish and channel that talent into the national team. Or at least it certainly suggests that there is something amiss in Pakistan team featuring in the World Cup.