Pakistan great Shoaib Akhtar has publicly slammed captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and his teammates for an abysmal showing during their 89-run defeat to India at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday.
Akhtar, speaking on his YouTube channel, vent out his frustration by criticizing Sarfaraz’s decision of bowling against arguably one of the best batting teams of the sport. He explained that Pakistan had half the game in their kitty following the toss, but the captain gave away the advantage after deciding to bowl first.
“The mistakes committed by the Indian team during the Champions Trophy 2017 final were repeated by Pakistan yesterday. I can't understand how Sarfaraz can be so brainless. How could he forget that we don't chase very well?
“Knowing our strength, which is bowling, is important. The game was half-won by Pakistan when Sarfaraz won the toss, but he tried hard to lose the match. Toss was very crucial and even if Pakistan had made 260, with their bowling, they could have defended it. So I think it was just brainless captaincy.
“It's a very saddening and disheartening performance from the Pakistan team captain. I wanted to see shades of Imran Khan in him but it's too late for him now.”
Also, there was a special mention of pacer Hasan Ali, who ended his bowling tenure with a figure of 1/84 in nine overs. The 24-year-old, back in April 2018, gathered unwanted attention through his antics at the Wagah Border and Akhtar said that he needs to translate all of it to the games where it matters the spot.
“Hasan Ali, who never shies away from jumping around at the Wagah border, couldn't apply himself when it mattered the most. Many of his deliveries were short-pitched,” Akhtar said.
“His mindset seems to be; I want to keep playing T20s and the PSL. But in the World Cup, we can see that he has not shown any pace or swing that could trouble batsmen.”
Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir, who was Pakistan’s most effective bowler against India, wasn’t barred as well. Amir dismissed Indian captain Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni, but Akhtar explained that is easy to take wickets when the opposition’s only target to hit big. He rather advised Amir to be more effective when there’s an urgency.
There were also some crunch words for Babar Azam, whose partnership with Fakhar Zaman gave India a temporary scar during the game. Akhtar mentioned that Azam, who idolize Kohli, has no trait of the Indian captain whatsoever. Backing the statement, the former bowler mentioned how cleverly Kohli manages to rotate the strikes while Azam cannot.
Even the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were left out from the rant, and their lacklustre performances in this year’s World Cup was well and truly criticized by Akhtar.
After just a solitary win from five games, Pakistan sit ninth on the log and next face South Africa at Lord’s on June 23.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar