ISLAMABAD - Misbah-ul-Haq’s defensive approach cost Pakistan T20 series against the second-string Sri Lankan side as Pakistan suffered humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of visiting side for the first time in their T20 history.

It was time and again mentioned by this scribe that Misbah is not a suitable head coach-cum-chief selector for the national team and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Gulzar Khan, who made a lot of tall claims about providing justice to the deserving players, appointing professional coaches and strengthening the PCB, is not fulfilling the expectations of emerging players and fans. Similarly, PCB chief Ehsan Mani has also failed miserably to bring some revolutionary changes except destruction of future of players with the advent of new domestic structure that crucially lacks the only agenda the PCB is supposed to carry out i.e. betterment of game and players. And Misbah’s selection in dual role as head coach and chief selector by new PCB management, that too against rules and regulation as advertised by the board, is bound to end in a disaster for which Pakistan will have to pay for long time. Both PCB Chief Ehasn Mani and CEO Wasim Khan are failing Pakistan cricket miserably having no clear direction to run the affairs of the board or the game.

Misbah could not change his defensive approach and once again opted to field senior players in the T20 series, rather than providing chances to some emerging players. He showered countless benefits to his near and dear ones, as completely unknown players are being hired on different lucrative posts on hefty monthly salaries. Players from SNGPL and Faisalabad Region were fully accommodated, while deserving players, coaches and officials were sent home.

In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy this year, the Diamond Cricket Ground (DCG), which is considered as the hub of cricket as majority of domestic matches are played on this ground, was deprived of hosting any first class match. Despite the fact that the PCB has introduced expensive Kookaburra balls, low-bounce tracks were preferred for the matches, rather than opting for some bouncy tracks to prepare for the upcoming Australia series. Consequently, fast bowlers are struggling to get pace in the competition, which is a clear sign that the PCB and Misbah lack direction and vision.

After winning the ODI series against Sri Lanka in an unconvincing manner, Misbah recalled super flops like Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Faheem Ashraf and Iftikhar Ahmed without any reasonable justification. T20 specialist Fakhar Zaman was given rest in the first T20 without any reason, while in the second T20, he and Wahab Riaz were recalled while Faheem Ashraf and Iftikhar Ahmed were excluded from the playing XI.

After defeat in the first T20, it was hoped that Misbah will come up with a different game plan, but he proved that he was given the dual role just to cover the blunders of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and protect the interests of Mudassar Nazar, Ali Zia, Haroon Rasheed and Subhan Ahmed.

Misbah put a huge pressure on Babar Azam by appointing him as vice captain, which led him suffer in the T20s. The national team is badly struggling to find openers. Fakhar and Imam did manage to involve in few partnerships, but they could not produce results on consistent basis. It was ideal time to rest Imam, Fakhar and few other players.

It was also a suitable situation for Misbah to start his dual stint in highly positive manner and find some emerging players for the future of Pakistan cricket. Sarfraz Ahmed is struggling to keep wickets, lead the side and score runs. He is more than a liability for the national team. Rohail Nazeer, who has scored lots of runs in national and international level, is a genuine wicketkeeper and can bat top of the order.

Why have PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and CEO Wasim Khan kept silence on Misbah’s dubious team selection? Why emerging and fresh players were ignored in the selection? If fresh players cannot get chances against an average Sri Lankan side, when Misbah and the PCB would encourage them? Why Aamir and Wahab are still top priority and why the PCB top brass is keeping mum? Why was undeserving Misbah assigned such high-profile dual role? These are the questioned needed to be answered by the PCB bosses.

The T20 series defeat from an under-strength Sri Lankan side is an eye-opener for the PCB, Misbah and above all Prime Minister Imran Khan. The PM had promised to clean the PCB from non-performers, but people are still waiting for such actions. The national team is going from bad to worse. Any further delay in taking strict action and showing the door to incompetent persons can further damage the game. It is hoped that the PM will seek explanation from the PCB management and take stern action against them.