Tuesday June 18, 2024

Time to step up

By Jahanzeb Sukhera
June 20, 2020

In 2018, we did not elect a prime minister; we elected a captain. We elected the man who lead, motivated, and brought the best out of a team to win the 1992 Cricket World Cup. We elected him to lead us like he led that team.

However, that captain is nowhere to be found as we face, perhaps, the toughest competition some of us will ever face. The captain was expected to draw up a game plan and bring out the best in his team.

It appears that our captain, when it mattered the most, lost his touch. He asked us to follow SOPs – wear masks and maintain social distance. However, since the beginning of the Covid-19 onslaught, we have time and again seen our captain failing to do himself what he expected from us.

Our captain publically criticized and denounced his vice-captains - the chief ministers – when they sincerely did their best, as they were required to do as per the constitution of Pakistan. At a time when we needed to fight the pandemic as a cohesive and well-coordinated unit, the captain did and said things to divide us.

We were also confused about the magnitude of the task ahead. Perhaps the captain didn’t do his homework. Were we faced with just a flu? Or did we have to prepare for something more sinister? It is now clear that defeating this opponent requires great strength, planning, and discipline. However, our captain only asked us to prepare for a C-class opponent. We are now ill-prepared.

Any good captain will testify that just asking the team to trust the plan is not enough. The plan should appear to work. Our captain told us that his healthcare facilities have sufficient capacity to deal with the consequences of the game plan. It is now evident that the captain either miscalculated, or misspoke. Either way, the team is scared, demoralized and has diminishing confidence.

Most disappointingly, however, our captain failed to take responsibility. When the odds starting stacking up against us, our captain first put blame on the 'elites'. When he came up with plan-B, to ease the lockdown, he blamed the rest of us for its failure. Perhaps the captain needs reminding that we are his team to lead, and it is for him to ensure we understand the plan, and are in a position to follow it.

The result of this bad patch of captaincy is that the team, which, if hasn’t become clear by now, is us, does not have the requisite fitness, skills, unity, and discipline that this fight requires. In fact, most of us are confused as to what the game plan is. Some of us don’t even know that there is a match going on!

It may very well be too late for the captain to show up now – but even if that is so, I would rather have him show up now than not show up at all. It feels like the top order has collapsed, and its almost time to go chase down a mammoth total in what is, essentially, a death match.

If the captain does decide to show up, he will have to lead as we expected him to when we voted for him. He will have to show that he has an honest plan – and show that it works. He will have to be honest about the nature of the fight, so we may train accordingly. Most importantly, the captain will have to take responsibility. He is the PM of the entire country, not just any segment thereof.

The writer is a lawyer.