Reasons why Pakistan could not qualify for WTC 2023 Final

As we discussed in the previous article about the Pakistan team’s journey in the World Test Championship 2021-23 campaign, there were obviously a lot of questions that came into the minds of the fans how can such an easy schedule be messed up. 

Many factors were considered. From the pitch saga to the selection issues, to Shaheen Afridi’s untimely injury to game awareness. Here, we look at the reasons why the Pakistan team could not qualify for the WTC 2023 Final.

WTC 2023 Final: What was the reason for the downfall?

There are several factors to look at as the reasons why such a dramatic downfall happened to what was considered the easiest cycle was given to Babar Azam and his team.

Injury concerns: 

The biggest example is the injury concern of two best bowlers in 2021; Shaheen Afridi and Hassan Ali. They combined took 88 wickets in 32 innings. But Hassan was injured in the first Benaud-Qadir Trophy match which saw his pace gets reduced and became weaker in that department.

Shaheen’s injury was a bigger issue. Being the only left-arm pacer for all three formats, his injury was a huge blow. While he recovered just in time for the T20 World Cup and believed that he will be ready for England and New Zealand Test series, he suffered another horrible injury in the World Cup final. Because of another, he was ruled out for the all-important games where Pakistan needed to win in order to qualify for the WTC 2023 Final.

Pitch tampering:

It was unnecessary for the former PCB Boss Ramiz Raja to tamper with Pakistan wickets. According to him, he wanted to make the wickets “better” and he wanted to have drop-in wickets for the team’s overall performance to get better. Because of this, the natural wickets of Rawalpindi and Karachi suffered and became roads. Rawalpindi has two demerit points now. If it gets three more, it will be suspended. 

Also Read: Do Pakistani Pitches need amendment?

Players selection:

It is understood that some of the players had missed out on who deserved to be with the side. It can be one’s pure opinion, but some of the selections were questioned and left-out players were called for return. Such an example is Yasir Shah, Shaheen’s most experienced spinner.

The leg-spinner played only one series in 2022 that too against Sri Lanka and while his numbers weren’t up to mark, he was the reason for breaking some strong partnerships. Yasir was a big miss in the series against Australia and his counterpart Mitchell Swepson showed why a leg-spinner was needed. Mohammad Wasim was sacked shortly after Ramiz Raja was sacked when the management was changed.

Lack of Match Awareness:

There have been some moments where players showed a lack of match awareness. An example we can take is the dismissals of Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Nawaz in the second Test match against England at Multan where both of them were caught playing the wide leg-side ball. Saud’s dismissal was a bit controversial but regardless, it ended his innings. 

Another example is the needless aggressive approach; such as coming down the wicket against spinners continuously which was seen by Abdullah Shafique, Imam ul-Haq and Shan Masood in the New Zealand series. 

Drop catches at crucial moments:

In many of the games, there have been huge moments where catches dropped and the result ended against Pakistan. In the most recent series against New Zealand, Sarfaraz Ahmed missed at least 10 chances. This includes the first stumping of Kane Williamson in game one, where he went on to score a double century. Had he been stumped when on 21, the result could have ended differently.

The same case can be said for the first West Indies Test match when Mohammad Rizwan dropped Kemar Roach and he went on to hit the winning runs.

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