Pakistan batsmen face fire after Asia Cup defeat

Former cricketers lambast Afridi & Co for poor batting which resulted in their ouster from Asia Cup

Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi's poor run of form continues.   -  AFP

Former cricketers castigated the miserable batting performance by the Pakistan team, which was knocked out of Asia Cup after defeat against hosts Bangladesh. Pakistan could manage only 129 runs on the board in the make-or-break match last night and failed to contain the Bangladeshi batsmen.

“It is so disappointing to go out of the Asia Cup in this manner. I was hoping our team would motivate themselves to beat Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and set up a final with India,” former paceman Shoaib Akhtar said.

Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq laid the blame of recent defeats on batting. “Our bowlers again did a good job but the batting is just not clicking. The selectors have tried everyone who is doing well in domestic cricket, so what else can one can do,” Misbah said.

Misbah contended that Pakistan had again misread the pitch and situation by playing Anwar Ali and not giving more overs to all-rounder Shoaib Malik. “The ball was gripping and I would have thought Malik would be a good option early on for a few overs. The pitch was not easy for batting,” he said.

Pakistan’s champion off-spinner Saeed Ajmal also expressed surprise over some of the captaincy decisions. “Malik should have been brought on in the seventh or eight over. There were other lapses in the field as well. The calculations were wrong,” he said.

Pakistan has lost seven of its last ten T20 internationals and in their last four matches they have quickly lost their first three or four wickets inside the power play overs. Even against Bangladesh, Pakistan had lost three quick wickets. Pakistan also tasted defeat in seven of its last ten ODIs increasing concern about where the team is headed before the World T20 in India.

Former Test captain Javed Miandad, Muhammad Yousuf and Rashid Latif and former players Mohsin Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz were more forthright in blaming the batting for the poor performances.

“This is one of the worst batting performances I have seen in recent times,” Miandad said. He said it was time for the PCB to seriously think about the future and bring in a new captain and mindset in the team. “When the captain’s place in the side is not confirmed, how can we expect good results.”

Yousuf said batting had been pathetic in recent times. “These batsmen just lack proper application and technique and try to hit themselves out of trouble on pitches which offer some assistance to bowlers. It doesn’t work that way in international cricket.”

Yousuf also felt that Afridi needed to seriously rethink his future. “He is under immense pressure as captain since he is not clicking as a player despite being the most experienced member of the squad.”

Nawaz said that it was time for the PCB to ask Afridi to step down and appoint someone else for the World T20. “We have heard enough excuses but when the captain is not performing how can he question or pull up the other players,” Nawaz questioned.

Latif said Pakistan’s approach to T20 cricket on pitches which were not pure batting tracks was faulty and they didn’t read the situation well.

“I don’t know who to blame but individuals when they play for Pakistan must foremost accept responsibility for their own performances,” Latif said.

Mohsin Khan said the team management needed to be asked questions why they were getting decisions wrong and why they couldn’t motivate the players and improve their performances. “The PCB can’t just wait for things to improve,” he added.

Former PCB Chairman Najam Sethi, who now heads the powerful Executive Committee, tweeted that he was disappointed by the dismal performance of the team. “I am sorely disappointed by continuing dismal performance of our team. PCB management must take swift action against responsible people,” Sethi tweeted soon after Pakistan were beaten by hosts Bangladesh.

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