This may be an unwelcoming question at the time of Pakistan’s recent victories in shorter version of the game against Sri Lanka. Realistically, losing test matches and winning one days and T20s can never be assumed as “Mission Accomplished”.
The new crowd-pulling adventurous version of the game that’s equally lucrative in lesser time is surely and steadily making its way to challenge the stature of the mother game. Sooner or later, we expect to find the two formats at loggerheads for the highest place. Things are going T20 way as oldest format seems to lose its flavor against glamour. Due to growing public interest in T20s, one can find exuberant jam-packed attendance at grounds whereas crowds for test matches are falling on other hand.
The scenario is no different as far as Pakistan cricket is concerned. Even Pakistan faces multiple impediments that remain unsettled since ages. Domestic structure doesn’t look like resolving issues pertaining to genuine talent hunt. Absence of home cricket further aggravates the situation by depleting PCB’s revenue base. At this moment of time, reviewing strategy and introducing a new methodology for test cricket’s future has to be a challenging and imperative task.
In the midst of this upheaval, the future of test cricket stays uncertain. Pakistan hasn’t produced a world class test batsman since last one decade apart from Mishbah-ul-Haq who made his way rather in mid thirties. PCB has been revealing fresh talent whenever there’s a new series. Most of these youngsters are groomed within their specific milieu which is not favorable to test cricket. Young cricketers are not being exposed to the rigors of five day match more frequently. Consequences of playing too much limited overs cricket are showing signs of jittery performance, lack of temperament and dearth of grit to stay on the wicket for a longer time. Batsmen succumb to temptations and chase deliveries outside the off-stump. Their shot selection always remains the critical point of innings. Pakistan’s recent test series defeat against Sri lanka in UAE exposed Pakistan’s edgy batting display. Same repeated errors and no sign of learning from past mistakes continue.
A cricketer can’t play test, one day and T20 match with the same frame of mind. All formats demand different tactics and character. According to some critics, PSL has been counterproductive instead of being a beneficial venture. The two former captains, Javed Miandad and Aamir Sohail are not happy about PSL idea because they think it’s not likely to produce good test cricketers to the contrary. Former West Indian captain, Clive Lloyd also complained that T20 competitions have messed up cricket in Caribbean. Players are going after the money, Lloyd said. It’s not about being too critical of T20 but the fact is it’s overshadowing the real game since cricket boards are not considering the matter seriously.
Pakistan shines with a rich legacy of some outstanding test cricketers. It has been observed persistently that no significant arrangement has been made for the youngsters to benefit from counseling of former greats of Pakistan. The board has to come up with such programs to salvage test cricket and reaffirm not to compromise on anything unless test cricket gets its deserving status at the top of PCB priorities. The board must reduce communication gap between the youngsters and former legendary players of the country so that the newcomers could get ample consultation and guidance.
Since Misbah and Yunus are no more in the squad, PCB should be proactive to devise a contingency plan and discipline the team for future’s toughest clashes by using all resources to relive Pakistan’s test cricket as a formidable force.