A Sunday morning at the Oval. Bright sunshine and clear skies were on the menu as the World Cup favourites India and Australia faced off.
After winning the T20 series 2-0 against Pakistan, Australia won the Test series by 2-0 as well. Pakistan lost both the Tests by an innings.
Pakistan has not won a Test match in Australia since 1999. The importance of Test cricket has now increased than it was earlier.
Now, due to World Test Championship, each team gets points if they win or the match is tied or drawn. Further, the top two teams will play final at The Lord’s in June 2021.
Therefore, teams must have a good bunch of experienced players playing in every department, batting or bowling.
The ground for this recent series loss was not just due to lack of experience in their batting or bowling department. Yes, we can say that players like Azhar Ali should have executed better as he has toured Australia before like Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam.
One can also say that Yasir Shah could have bowled better as he has also toured Australia before.
However, there are other reasons as well, which are very alarming in the current cricketing world.
Mohammad Amir after the World Cup 2019 announced his retirement at the age of only 27 years from Test cricket, citing his desire to focus on white-ball formats.
However, he will continue playing county cricket in England, which is a little shocking. Amir’s experience would have been handy for Pakistan’s bowling in this recent Test series against Australia.
Moreover, Wahab Riaz has taken a break from the Test cricket to focus on shorter formats and was unavailable for this Australia series.
He was the leading wicket-taker for Pakistan when they toured Australia in 2016. He took eleven wickets in three matches. Therefore, his experience would have also helped Pakistan a lot in this series.
After looking at the World Test Championship format, this could have been managed in a better way by both these players.
Further, as a Test captain, this was Azhar Ali’s first series, as former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was dropped. Therefore, the new Pakistan cricket management should have managed the Sarfaraz issue calmly and should not have directly dropped him.
Thus, one should not entirely fault the current Pakistan players for this loss. It was also due to the circumstances created by the senior players and squad management.