The great Wasim Akram was part of the Pakistani establishment, once a force to be reckoned with. Of course, they weren’t the best cricket-playing team in the tournament, but they were constantly challenging the best teams. From winning the World Cup in 1992 to reaching the final in England in 1999 and clinching multiple double and triple series in Sharjah, Sharjah, Pakistan were no pushovers and regularly pushed the opposition to their limits.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to say the same thing now. The current team playing in the World Cup in India under skipper Babar Azam could qualify as the worst team to play in this prestigious event held every four years. The players are too one dimensional, the captain and his ideas lack spark and to make matters worse the team scored a hat-trick; The most recent of which was a match against Afghanistan in Chennai last evening on Monday. Pakistan are being idiots as they might have brought the game to the penultimate end, but losing by eight wickets is a huge reality check.
It was good for the batsmen to put 282 on the board but Pakistan’s bowling, which has a rich heritage and history, was toothless. Without Naseem Shah, there is no life left in the bowling line-up despite the presence of Shaheen Afridi. Haris Rauf was a huge disappointment by leaking runs at will. But that’s not even the most attractive part. Pakistan’s home ground last night was yet another example of why so many memes and jokes have come at the expense of it. They were ugly on the field, with the ball slipping through legs, fingers and other things.
Getting on the field is directly proportional to the player’s fitness levels, and Akram says this is where the team needs to take a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror. Assessing the result, a furious Akram couldn’t help venting his disappointment, disappointment – call it what you will – for putting serious pressure on Pakistan when their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup were uncertain. After five matches, Pakistan sit fifth on the points table with 4 points and are dependent on not only winning their remaining four league matches for survival but also on other teams’ results.
“Today was a shame. To lose just two wickets and reach 280 is quite a big figure. Wet pitch or not, look at the pitch, look at their fitness level. We have been shouting for the last 3 weeks that these players are not alive. Fitness tests have been carried out for the last two years. We are trying to get names one by one.” “If I start, their faces will fall. These guys seem to eat 8 kilos of mutton every day. Shouldn’t they be tested?” a clearly disappointed Akram said on A Sports’ show ‘The Pavilion’.
“As a professional, you get paid, you play for your country. There have to be certain criteria. Misbah had these criteria when he was a coach. The players hated him, but it worked. Fielding is all about fitness and that’s what we lack. Now we have reached the same position, We will pray for the ifs and buts to come true.”
Akram, who made a request to PCB, says please consider the country first
Akram then went on to call a spade a spade. He targeted the current PCB regime and accused it of making hasty decisions unlike the former chairman PCB management. Under him and the previous coaching staff, which included Saqlain Mushtaq, Mohammad Yousuf and others, Pakistan reached the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia last year. After Ramiz’s dismissal, the interim chairmanship was given to Najam Sethi, after which Zaka Ashraf was appointed chairman for four months. And the result is for everyone to see. Pakistan, who failed to qualify for the Asian Cup final, were all over the place with Akram facing some tough questions for the PCB.
“We were excited to be number 1, but come on! We had a president for the last 6-8 months. He came to the team for 3-4 months and then immediately changed the technical staff. We were last in the final.” 1 year. But suddenly he came and made a mess. ‘Get him out, get this person out. Let your own men in’. You are senior to me, older than me, but next time please… whoever it is. President, think about the nation. Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani have worked hard to bring together a high performance center and create a system. They changed it and turned it into a National Coaching Center. Not a single camp was built there. For 8 months. Why are you having to make unnecessary changes? Let it go,” Akram continued.