Pakistan cricket team has come under criticism from the national media, which mourned yet another defeat to arch-rivals India in a World Cup game, saying “the writing was on the wall from the very beginning”.
Pakistan yesterday lost their sixth straight match to India in World Cup since the rivalry started way back in 1992.
A Lahore based national daily Daily Times headlined its piece ‘Pakistan fail to break World Cup jinx against India’.
“As expected, Misbah ul Haq and his charges failed to break their World Cup jinx against India in Adelaide on Sunday. It was written on the wall from the very beginning but still many were hoping for a miracle. But miracles seldom happen,” wrote ‘Daily Times’.
The headline in the Dawn newspaper said ‘India preserve flawless World Cup record against Pakistan’.
“In what was an important game for both teams, India ticked all the right boxes at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday to ensure they preserved their flawless record against fierce rivals Pakistan in World Cups,” wrote in ‘Dawn’.
In another piece in Dawn, a sarcastic comment made in the article said: “Hey, what’s an India-Pakistan World Cup match without a man named Akmal messing opportunities behind the stumps, right?”
Meanwhile, local media quoted former Pakistan great Javed Miandad from ICC column — ‘Mindboggling experimentation’ — saying that “in big cricket matches, a team fields its best playing XI and does not experiment”.
“It was nothing but a mindboggling team selection that shocked millions of its fans around the world. What’s the science behind promoting Younis Khan as an opener? What’s the logic of leaving out a specialist wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed when he could also bat aggressively? It was like pushing the panic button before the start of an all-important event like the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015,” wrote Miandad.
He further added: “To me, it seems Pakistan team management is confused about where its strength lies. It wants to bat deep down to No.8 and also doesn’t want to miss out on the sixth bowler. I am afraid that’s not the right approach in big tournaments.”
Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has advised Misbah to become more stern and be strong with the players if the team harbours hopes of doing well in the World Cup.
“I am totally disappointed at the way some of our batsmen played rash strokes and got out against India. I think Misbah has to shed some of his humbleness and calmness and deal with such players strongly,” Akhtar told Geo News Channel.
Former captain Rameez Raja also told the Channel that the defeat would have led to mental scarring of the Pakistan team.
“I just hope they can rebound from this defeat because they now need to win all their matches and show more discipline and purpose in their cricket,” he said.
Pakistan’s former opener Mohsin Khan said the team let the fans down.
“It is really disappointing at how the team let us down. You wait for a long time for this match and I just feel so bad for the fans who prayed for success,” Mohsin said.
Former captain Rashid Latif said Pakistan had squandered their best opportunity to beat India in a World Cup game.
“India was the team under pressure but all praise to (Virat) Kohli, (Shikhar) Dhawan and (Suresh) Raina for sticking it out in the middle. That is something our batsmen should have learnt from them when we batted,” Latif said.
Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup winning captain, Imran Khan found fault in team combination and said a specialist wicket-keeper should have been picked.
“I always believed in having specialist players and I think playing Umar as a keeper was a mistake and it cost us,” he said.
Batting great Zaheer Abbas felt Pakistan committed too many mistakes on the field and also while selecting the team.
“Pakistan committed too many mistakes. Younis Khan should not have been sent as an opener and they should not have dropped Sarfraz Ahmed and made Umar keep wickets,” he said.
“There was no proper planning. We made so many mistakes. Our captain did blunders. Sending Younis to open the innings was a big blunder and using Umar as a wicketkeeper was another. Moreover, we dropped so many catches.
“Last World also we dropped so many catches. When do we learn?,” asked Zaheer.
Pakistan’s former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq said: “Our strategy was not right. Though I agree that sending Younis as an opener was country’s requirement but we lacked genuine opener and a genuine wicket-keeper.”