World Cup 2019: Shoaib Akhtar criticises Sarfaraz Ahmed’s captaincy

According to the former Pakistan fast bowler, Sarfaraz’s decision to choose to bowl first in the contest against India in Manchester was a wrong one.

Hasan Ali, with the ball, and Sarfaraz Ahmed, in his captaincy, performed poorly in Akhtar’s assessment of Pakistan’s performance.   -  AP

Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has criticised Sarfaraz Ahmed’s captaincy after his team’s loss to India in the ICC World Cup 2019 contest in Manchester on Sunday. Akhtar declared that the decision taken by Sarfaraz of bowling first — after he had won the toss — was a wrong one.

“I don’t understand how can a captain be so brainless, couldn’t Sarfaraz think that we don’t chase well? Square of the wicket is dry, the wicket is not wet. Knowing the fact and your strength is not batting its bowling,” Akhtar said on his official YouTube channel.

“Now when you had won the toss, you had won half the match there. But what did you do? You tried that we should not win this match. Yet again, brainless captaincy, utterly stupid management,” he remarked.

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Highlighting Pakistan’s inability to chase targets, Akhtar referred to its defeat to India in 1999 and the previous game against Australia to illustrate the point. “We don’t have a history of chasing. Inzamam (-ul-Haq), [Mohammad] Yousuf, Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi — all big batsmen were playing in this ground in 1999 and we had to make 227; we weren’t able to do that. So when you [have] got the chance after winning the toss you should have batted.”

‘No thinking’

Akhtar also criticised the batsmen for not making use of the conditions, unlike the Indians. “There was no thinking. One-dimensional players came to bat. But the toss was very crucial to win it and in that even if Pakistan scored 260 they would have done it because the pressure is on required run-rate. But who would tell them?,” he said.

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“I think it’s a very saddening and disheartening performance by [the] Pakistan team captain, and that’s why I was saying use your head, but he tried [not to] use his brain,” Akhtar continued.

Akhtar singled out pacer Hasan Ali — who went for 84 off his nine overs — as one of the architects of the defeat. “Yet again, our bowling, Hasan Ali. He can jump on Wagah border but when there is time to exert force, do it here. All these things look good if you take six-seven wickets, you come here and give 82-84 runs. What mindset is this? I think his mindset is that he wants to be a T20 player, this is his fourth or fifth match for Pakistan and see the conditions — neither there is any pace nor swing. I’m failing to understand what he wants to achieve.”