Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh has provided insightful perspectives on the challenges facing the Pakistan cricket team, emphasizing the need for the players to regain their confidence through consistent performances.
In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Singh acknowledged the abundance of talent within the Pakistan team but highlighted the apparent dip in confidence that has impacted their recent performances.
“The Pakistan team does not lack talent overall. Somewhere, the team’s confidence has been shaken. To regain that confidence, they need to play some good consecutive matches. That’s how they will build the confidence. And the responsibility to restore the slightly shaken confidence lies with the players. They need to play better cricket than what they have been playing. There are many talented players who are playing in a way that is not up to their potential,” Singh said.
Reflecting on the recent change in captaincy, Singh attributed it to Pakistan’s underwhelming performance in the World Cup. While acknowledging the significance of cricket in both India and Pakistan, he expressed his belief that the decision might not have been timely.
“The change in captaincy was a reaction to the World Cup. Pakistan’s team did not perform well, and it was a reaction to that. It’s evident that cricket holds significant importance in both India and Pakistan, and if a team doesn’t perform well in the World Cup, it can have a profound impact on players’ careers. I think it was a reaction, but I believe the decision was not taken at the right time. Sometimes, a decision made too late can set you back, and perhaps this decision is one of the reasons that Pakistan’s cricket hasprogressed backward rather than forward,” he further added.
Singh praised Babar Azam’s skills but urged recognition for the entire team, emphasizing that team success is a result of collective effort. Drawing parallels between the cricketing narratives in India and Pakistan, he noted the tendency to excessively praise individual players, emphasizing the need to acknowledge the contributions of the entire team.
“Babar is a good player, but alongside him, there are other talented players in the team as well. It’s a common tendency in both of our countries that we often praise one player extensively, sometimes overlooking the contributions of other players. While Virat Kohli is often praised, similarly, there’s much talk about Babar. However, teams don’t win solely because of one player; they win when the entire team performs well,” Singh said.
“The other players in the team also need recognition because, ultimately, it’s the collective effort of the team that makes it strong. No doubt, Babar is a quality player, and I hope he start scoring runs. The other players in the team are also quality players, and they need to collaborate to strengthen the team and achieve victory,” he said.
Singh who is also the ambassador of the ILT20, expressed his enthusiasm and delight about the ongoing season, highlighting the positive developments that have added new vigor to the tournament.
“The current season of IL20 is better than before. This time, there has been more crowd turnout. This means that ILT20 has returned in a better form to the UAE. Any game is not truly big until the fans come to the stadium,” he said.
The veteran Indian cricketer went on to share his experiences and joy in interacting with cricket legends like Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, who are also associated with the ILT20.
“Wasim bhai is such a person who, when he is around, just makes you keep laughing. He keeps sharing very funny anecdotes and laughs a lot. Meeting Wasim Akram again, meeting Shoaib Akhtar, doing commentary with them, it’s good fun,” Singh added.
The second season of the International League T20 (ILT20) kicked off on 19th January in Sharjah. The organizers opted to skip the opening ceremony this time. Sharjah Warriors and Gulf Giants played the opening match where the game ended with a defeat for Sharjah Warriors by 31 runs.
Pakistan cricket stars, including Pakistan T20 captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, will soon be participating in the tournament. Fans are eagerly awaiting their arrival.