Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semi-finals Ongoing World Cup They suffered a significant blow after being defeated by neighbors Afghanistan by eight wickets on Monday. Batting first, Pakistan posted 282/7 thanks to half-centuries from Babar Azam (74) and Abdullah Shafique (58). However, Afghanistan chased down the total without breaking a sweat at Chepauk with eight wickets in hand.
The defeat sent temperatures rising again in Pakistan, with former national team players pointing fingers at tactics, bowling or Babar’s captaincy.
Questions were also asked regarding the fitness levels of Pakistani players.
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“Today was so embarrassing! Look at the fitness level of Pakistani players. We mentioned that these players have not taken fitness tests for two years! Their faces are swollen! Lagta hai roz ath ath kilo nihariyan khandene (They look like they’ve swallowed eight pounds of slow-cooked meat). These are professional players, there should be a criterion! There were eligibility criteria when Misbah-ul-Haq was a coach. The players hated him. But it worked! Fielding is all about fitness. This is where we are lacking,” said Pakistan legend Wasim Akram of A Sports.
Thereupon, Moin Khan pointed out how the Pakistan think tank made a mistake in planning the World Cup.
“We played cricket in Sri Lanka for three months, the players were exhausted! You saw this on the field today. He was clean. The players were weak and tired. Nobody could get on the field. This was mainly because you had a tour of Sri Lanka ahead of the World Cup; We know from experience that you are exhausted there!” Moin said.
It was Pakistan’s third defeat in five matches and they dropped to fifth place in the rankings.
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Meanwhile, Shoiab Malik raised questions about Pakistani players chasing individual glory in the ranking lists. Babar is currently ranked at number 1 in the ODI charts.
Just a month before the T20 World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq, who was the coach of the Pakistan team until his unceremonious resignation in 2021, highlighted the class gap between Pakistani and Afghan bowling.
“Obviously the spin bowling quality of the Afghan bowlers was much higher. Our batsmen are built to earn their runs. The batsmen were picking up runs easily against the spinners. It was a matter of talent, confidence, everything. There were no easy deliveries. Rashid Khan didn’t get between the wickets, but today it looked like every ball he bowled something was going to happen,” Misbah said, adding that Pakistan bowlers lacked discipline from the word go when all they had to do was contain the ball. The Afghan attacks are putting run-rate pressure on them.