Pakistan cricket team has won all four of the group matches it has played so far in the T20 World Cup being played in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan currently sits on top of the points table with 8 points in Group 2. Pakistan's only remaining match is with the team from Scotland which has lost all 3 matches it has played so far. There is no doubt about the top talent in the Pakistani team but their performance at the T20 World Cup is extraordinary. So what accounts for it? What has changed recently within the team? Do Pakistanis have a chip on their shoulder and they are out to prove themselves? Are the new world-class coaches helping them?
|Pakistan's Coches Mathew Hayden (L), Vernon Philander|
One possible explanation is that Pakistanis have a chip on their soldier. They are out to prove themselves after having been shunned by teams like England, New Zealand and India. Another more likely explanation that I find more appealing is the change of leadership of Pakistan Cricket Board and the hiring of world class coaches.
Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed ex cricketer and cricket commentator Ramiz Raja as the new head of Pakistan Cricket Board in September 2021. This appointment triggered the walkout of head coach Misbah ul Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis.
Misbah's and Waqar's decision to quit created an opportunity for Ramiz to bring in a new coaching team of his choice. Ramiz chose British-Pakistani Saqlain Mushtaq as the new head coach, brought in world-class Australian batsman Mathew Hayden as the batting coach, and South African seamer Vernon Philander as the bowling coach.
|Pakistan's Winningest T20 Team. Source: ESPN|
Here's how Ramiz Raja described Mathew Hayden: "The Australian can bring some aggression into the team. He has experience of World Cups and was a world-class player himself. Having an Australian in the dressing room will be of great benefit for us."
On Philander, Raja said, "I know him well, he understands the nuances of bowling and he has a great record in Australia."
These changes were clearly risky just before a major tournament but seem to have worked out well for the Pakistani side. Pakistan has already made it to the T20 World Cup semifinals, and is now considered among the favorites to win the World Cup this year.