by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Pakistan’s premature exit from the 2023 ODI World Cup has triggered discussions surrounding the team’s leadership, strategy, and the overall cricketing system.
Former pacer Mohammad Amir firmly asserts that holding the captain accountable carries more weight than blaming the system.
During a discussion on a local news channel, Amir pointed out that the system has previously delivered victories for Pakistan, citing successes in past World Cups.
“What is the system? It is not a wall. Five and six people have been given the responsibility to run Pakistan cricket. The captain is also one of them. In 1992 under Imran Khan, we won the World Cup, and the system was the same. In 1999, our team reached the finals, and we won the 2009 T20 World Cup with the same system. We won the 2017 Champions Trophy under the same system,” Amir said.
Amir emphasized the captain’s role and stressed the need for a change in mindset, suggesting that it’s the captain’s approach, not the system, that determines success.
“Babar has been the captain for the past four years. He has built his team on his own. Buttler is not part of our system, so why did England perform poorly? Does the system in England also need a makeover? After the 2015 debacle, Morgan said, ‘I want to play this brand of cricket, I want these 25 players,'” he added.
Amir’s argument focused on Babar Azam’s recent decisions, including the exclusion of Abrar Ahmad and the decision to bench Fakhar after the first match.
“The system remained the same; it is the captain who changed his mindset. As long as the captain’s mindset does not change, the system can do nothing. Was it the system that told him not to play Abrar Ahmad or to bench Fakhar after the first match?” Amir questioned.
Drawing comparisons, Amir referenced the Indian cricket system under MS Dhoni, stating that despite critiques, Dhoni’s leadership didn’t overhaul the system but focused on player selection and team development.
“We say Dhoni changed India’s cricket, but he never changed the system. People kept saying that for how long will he keep giving Jadeja and Ashwin chances. And now we say Jadeja is the World’s best all-rounder. MS Dhoni has given them the team,” he concluded.
While acknowledging that the system in any cricketing setup isn’t immune to criticism, Amir suggests that the captain’s mindset and choices play a more significant role in a team’s success than the overarching system.