With the T20 World Cup just over a month away, Pakistan cricket was shocked by the resignations of its head coach Misbah Ul Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis yesterday.
Misbah went away because he wasn’t in the ‘proper frame of mind’ and didn’t want to be a part of ubiquitous bio-secure bubbles that force you to spend a significant amount of time away from home, according to the lame fable spun for the cameras.
On an ordinary day, even the most gullible of the fans would not believe the justification. The fact that the resignations came on the same day that the national squad — and a pretty unusual one at that — was released, and just days before Ramiz Raja is set to take over as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), made the reasons listed even more surprising.
Even if Misbah’s story is true, Younis was under no duty to leave.
Despite this, he continued, claiming that it would have been pointless for him to remain after Misbah’s departure.
The image that was drawn was of Siamese twins who had always done things together, which was never the truth. It was through chance that they ended up in side-by-side roles.
When the dust has settled, as it often does in Pakistani cricket, the open truth will emerge on a sports show or a newspaper piece a few weeks or months later.
It’s not as if the truth needs to be told in this case when it’s obviously obvious. Since Ramiz Raja received approval from the man in the highest (civilian) office in the land to take over cricketing matters, Misbah’s days had been numbered. This was the first significant choice that the new PCB chairman had to make, and he handled it admirably.
He got rid of a man who wasn’t quite cut from the same fabric as the board’s benefactor, whose aggressive-heavy cricketing mentality was instilled in everyone who played under him as part of the World Cup-winning class of 92 in one fell swoop.
Except for Misbah, who arrived in cricket a few generations late and was shaped by the conditions he inherited in 2010.
Misbah, who is known for being reactive and defensive, was never going to keep his job with an Imran Khan follower at the helm.
That would have been acceptable, because not only is the new chairman fully within his rights to hire coaches of his choosing, but Misbah had done little in his two years to justify his position.
He oversaw his team’s whitewash in a T20I series against a B-grade Sri Lankan side missing numerous regulars in his maiden home assignment.
After a poor start, Misbah failed to motivate the team in any manner during their tour of Australia, when both Tests were lost by innings and the T20Is were equally one-sided.
In short, Misbah’s Pakistan lost almost every semi-difficult battle while acing the majority of its easy tasks.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: Pakistan cricket’s mysterious vaults always have a surprise or two in store for its supporters – and usually at the worst possible time.