There were more questions than answers emanating from the Pakistan tour party travelling across Australia again this week. No change there then. Now the spirit of reckless abandon which has characterised Pakistani cricket since time began has even seeped into the thinking of the players' Wags, if "eyewitness" stories are to be believed. Reports in Pakistan had it that Kamran Akmal's horror show, when he dropped four catches, missed a run out, and gift-wrapped the Sydney Test for Australia, was all down to a stint of late night baby-sitting.
An "eyewitness" was quoted as saying his wife had gone to sleep and left him with parenting duties. In the early hours, he was still pacing around the corridors of the Intercontinental in Sydney, trying to rock the restless bairn off to sleep. All of which raises some alarming questions. Such as, what was she thinking letting old iron gloves hold the baby? How could she possibly feel so confident he would not drop him?
Maverick or what? And anyway, how is there an "eyewitness" to Mrs Akmal's sleeping habits? Hitherto, Kamran had been a solid candidate for father of the year. When he made 59 not out on his way to the man of the match award against Australia in the first Twenty20 to be played at Dubai Sports City last May, he unveiled his own version of the "Rock the Baby" celebration, first made famous by Brazil's Bebeto, in honour of his child.
Kamran's fixed smile behind the timbers has been one of the few constants in Pakistan cricket lately. However, his miserable performance in the New Year's Test was just the cue for the pantomime to start all over again. Kamran celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday, though whether he was in party mood is unlikely. Sarfraz Ahmed will make his Test debut today at the Bellerive Oval, after Kamran, who is still a part of the selection panel as the incumbent vice-captain, fell on his sword and dropped himself.
It was a decision which is unlikely to have been taken lightly, especially when his younger brother Umar, the young whizzkid batsman, apparently feigned a back injury in protest at his older sibling's likely ousting. "He was sent to hospital and had x-rays done and the doctors said there is nothing wrong with him," said the side's kindly coach, Intikhab Alam, who dismissed the rumours of uncle Umar's planned protest as "rubbish". Intikhab, who is fast approaching his 70th year, does well to maintain equanimity in the face of it all.
Anarchy is never too far away when it comes to Pakistan cricket. Even before the Sydney tempest, the tinderbox was starting to sizzle. Since it finished, a presidential spokesman has even been moved to appeal for calm. Mohammed Yousuf, the captain who has been widely pilloried for his handling of the series, was said to have made a request to the Pakistan board that they send for Younus Khan, his predecessor. Which was rather a volte face for a player who was supposed to have been one of the main conspirators in the removal of Younus in the first place. And to think: Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar are not even there.
Whether Younus, who quit the captaincy near the end of last year when his side lost a limited-overs series to New Zealand in the UAE, will be back in harness when they return to these shores next month remains to be seen. The only thing that is certain about Pakistan cricket is the narrative will remain a thrill-a-minute. @Email:email@example.com