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Pakistan's poor T20 WC campaign raises eyebrows; Gary Kirsten points out discord in team

Pakistan's poor T20 World Cup 2024 campaign raises a lot of questions; Gary Kirsten points out discord in team. Kirsten slams Pakistan for disastrous outing.

Pakistan's poor T20 World Cup 2024 campaign raises questions; Gary Kirsten points out discord in team. | Walking Wicket (Source_ ©X/Twitter)
Gary Kirsten slams Pakistan for poor outing in T20 WC 2024 (Source: ©X/Twitter)

The T20 World Cup 2024 ended in bitter disappointment for Pakistan, marked by their failure to progress beyond the group stage. A narrow victory over Ireland provided scant consolation as losses to USA and arch-rivals India dashed their hopes of advancing to the Super Eights. The fallout was swift and contentious, with newly appointed head coach Gary Kirsten urging for scrutiny and pressing on the discord within the team.


Gary Kirsten's Controversial Stint

Gary Kirsten, renowned for leading India to World Cup glory in 2011, was tasked with rejuvenating Pakistan's cricketing fortunes. The newly appointed Pakistan head coach, Kirsten, who joined with the determination to guide his team to at least one major ICC trophy during his two-year stint, reportedly stirred controversy with allegations of disunity within Babar Azam's side.


Kirsten was brought in as Pakistan's coach just weeks before the marquee event. However, his tenure began amidst chaos, joining just weeks before the T20 World Cup. The team's poor performance, winning only two out of four group matches, emphasised deeper issues plaguing the squad.


Reports emerged post-elimination suggested that Kirsten's remarks about team unity stirred controversy. Veteran journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq quoted Kirsten's concerns about factionalism within the team, lamenting a lack of cohesion and support among players. This revelation sparked a heated debate, with Kirsten's comments resonating widely across cricketing circles.


"There's no unity in Pakistan's team, they call it a team, but it isn't a team. They aren't supporting each other; everyone is separated, left and right. I've worked with many teams, but I've never seen such a situation, "said Kirsten, per Ul Haq’s tweet.



Analysis of Pakistan's Performance

Pakistan's campaign was marred by inconsistent performances and internal strife. Despite victories over Canada and Ireland, losses to stronger opponents underscored their inability to perform under pressure. The team's reliance on individual brilliance over collective effort seemed to exacerbate existing fissures, as evidenced by defeats against higher-ranked teams.


The defeat against USA was particularly damaging, exposing Pakistan's vulnerability against less-fancied side. It led to questions about their ability to handle pressure in crucial matches. Against India, their traditional rivals, Pakistan's batting collapse mirrored previous failures in high-stakes encounters, further denting their reputation as a team capable of rising to the occasion.


T20 World Cup 2024_ Top Reasons why Pakistan is out in the first round. Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_X)
Pakistan made an early exit to T20 WC 2024 (Photo: ©ICC/X)
Reactions from Cricketing Fraternity

Former players and pundits weighed in on Pakistan's early exit and the subsequent turmoil. Harbhajan Singh, a World Cup-winning off-spinner, publicly suggested Kirsten's resignation, while Michael Vaughan echoed Kirsten's sentiments about the team's internal dynamics. Their comments added fuel to the fire, reflecting broader concerns about Pakistan cricket's direction under Kirsten's guidance.


Criticism extended beyond Kirsten's leadership to encompass broader structural issues within Pakistan cricket. The selection policies, player management and coaching strategies all came under scrutiny as stakeholders debated the root causes of the team's lacklustre showing. The consensus was that systemic reforms were necessary to restore Pakistan's competitive edge on the global stage.


Root Causes of Pakistan's Decline

Critics and insiders pointed to several factors contributing to Pakistan's struggles. Allegations of biased selection and player discontent highlighted a fractured team environment. The return of senior players like Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim reportedly disrupted team cohesion, exacerbating existing divisions within the squad. Moreover, leadership challenges, including the abrupt captaincy changes, further destabilised the team dynamics.


Pakistan's cricketing culture, known for its mercurial talent and unpredictability, also came under scrutiny. While individual brilliance occasionally shines through, the team's inability to sustain consistent performances remains a persistent issue. The lack of a cohesive team strategy and a clear pathway for talent development were seen as hindrances to sustained success in international tournaments.



Future Prospects

Looking ahead, Pakistan faces critical decisions regarding team restructuring and management reforms. Calls for a revamped selection committee and strategic leadership changes from the cricket fraternity focuses on the urgency to address systemic issues. The upcoming Champions Trophy on home soil presents an opportunity for redemption, albeit under a cloud of uncertainty regarding the team's composition and leadership stability.


According to the experts, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must prioritise stability and continuity in leadership roles while fostering a culture of accountability and professionalism within the team. Addressing player grievances, promoting open communication channels and aligning selection criteria with long-term goals are essential steps towards rebuilding trust and unity within the squad.


Pakistan's T20 World Cup 2024 campaign must be forgotten by the board and players as soon as possible, but not the lessons which serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of discord and disunity in professional sports. Gary Kirsten's brief yet controversial stint highlighted deep-seated challenges within the team, from leadership transitions to factionalism among players. As Pakistan seeks to regain its competitive edge on the international stage, decisive action and cohesive leadership will be paramount in navigating the turbulent waters ahead.


While the disappointment of 2024 lingers, Pakistan's cricketing future hinges on forging a unified vision and rebuilding trust within its ranks—a formidable task that demands introspection, accountability and collective resolve. The road ahead is fraught with challenges, but with the right strategy and commitment to change, Pakistan cricket can emerge stronger from this setback and reclaim its status as a force to be reckoned with in world cricket.


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