Despite all odds, Pakistan has just won two consecutive ODIs on the trot. Assume, contra Ijaz Butt, these victories were legitimate. Without a doubt, they’ve been absolutely thrilling; there’s little that can compare with winning under floodlights on the back of incisive, late-swing bowling.
But is this what Pakistan needs? Commentators have pushed a storyline that Pakistan — for all its current troubles (match-fixing, floods, forever political turmoil) — needs some good news. I don’t dispute that, but I wonder: will a series victory undermine the case for change?
Like other South Asian teams, Pakistan has set the standard for inconsistency and muddling-through. The worst thing that could happen from the spot-fixing scandal is a repeat of what happened in the late 1990s/early 2000s: rounds of finger-pointing; rumor-mongering; a few life bans — and then nothing more. Systemic change first requires an admission that the status quo has failed, and if Pakistan wins, then where does that leave us?
Let me be clear: I’m loving this series so far. If Pakistan wins, then they do, and good for them. But I fear the consequences. The storyline will shift from, “Dismal Pakistan lose Test, ODI series; Calls for Change increase” to “We’re not so bad, huh?”