ISLAMABAD         -    For how long the national team and fans will suffer at the hands of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and especially head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, who make selections in his unique way.

Recently in the first Test against Australia, which was also men in green’s first match of the ICC World Test Championship, the hosts hammered depleted Pakistan by an innings and five runs. The main reason behind this disgraceful defeat is poor team selection. The genuine talent has been running from pillar to post since long, while the blue-eyed persons are enjoying unlimited opportunities. It was time and again mentioned by this scribe that Misbah lacks exposure and experience to lead Pakistan cricket, but no heed was ever paid to streamline the issues. Instead of seeking explanation from PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and CEO Wasim Gulzar Khan on Misbah’s appointment, why Misbah was given unrealistic powers? His initial spell in the three roles has exposed him and it is clear that Pakistan cricket is bound to suffer, if he continues to run it with his self-styled policies.

Prime Minister Imran Khan must immediately sack Misbah from all the three positions. If the PCB wants to bless Misbah, then he should be made coach of the domestic side, so that he may gain experience before taking over such high-profile roles again.

In the Brisbane Test, Pakistan team selection was highly objectionable, as consistent performer Muhammad Abbas was not considered for the selection, while rookies like Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah, Imran Khan Senior, Yasir Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed were given nod of approval. It seems like it is a provincial team, as all the bowlers were picked up from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Skipper Azhar Ali should have come at number three instead of opening the batting. It was Test cricket and not a part-time job, so regular openers should have been in the playing XI, as Imam-ul-Haq is more suitable to open the batting. Instead of carrying a super flop like Haris Sohail, Misbah should have included Imam, Abid Ali and Abbas in the places of Imran Khan Senior, Haris and Iftikhar Ahmed.

Pakistani batsmen were mainly responsible for the defeat, as they were throwing their wickets away. It was not exceptional bowling from the opponent, but irresponsible shot selection from Pakistani batsmen, which led to a poor performance in the first innings. Azhar Ali’s captaincy was also objectionable, as he failed to utilise his bowling options properly and take advantage from his bowlers. Yasir Shah was heavily overburdened, while the services of Naseem Shah were not properly utilized, as he should have bowled more overs.

Same was the case with Shaheen Shah and Imran Khan, as Azhar used them as part timers. Haris provided some wickets, but Naseem should have bowled more overs as he had rattled Australian batsmen with his raw pace. Misbah had claimed that he would make Pakistan team more aggressive, but it was never seen in the last two series.

His coward-mindedness and defensive approach have already damaged the national team. Pakistani batsmen repeated same old mistakes in the second innings. Asad Shafiq played superbly in the first innings, but failed to carry forward the momentum in the second innings. Babar, who simply threw his wicket after playing so well, should have transformed 100 into double century, which could have changed the entire situation of the match.

Pakistan has started the ICC Test Championship in the worst possible manner and they will continue to suffer, if Misbah fails to rectify the errors. Prime Minister Imran Khan must take action in the best interest of the national team, as it is already too late. Any further time to the PCB’s current management and Misbah will destroy Pakistan cricket, which will then take years to revive.