Pakistan have come under heavy fire from former players over their team selection, which they feel was the major reason behind the drubbing handed out by England in the One-Day International (ODI) series in the UAE.
Former Test cricketer and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed believed that besides the poor on-field show by the players, flawed selection led to the heavy defeats in the ODIs after Pakistan had dominated the Test series.
“The selection was very poor,” Salahuddin told The Express Tribune. “The inclusion of all-rounder Shoaib Malik after the team had already been announced disturbed the side’s balance. The selection committee’s decision to overlook Malik was overruled by the captain, which is a proof of player power. The decision disrupted the team’s rhythm and it should have been avoided.”
Salahuddin also criticised Pakistan’s fielding during the series terming it ‘pathetic’. The former chief selector felt that separate teams for all formats should be the way forward for the national team as players like Misbahul Haq, Younus Khan and Azhar Ali were slow starters and pegged the team back in limited-overs matches.
Salahuddin was also critical of Misbah’s captaincy, calling him a defensive leader.
“Shahid Afridi is still the best choice to lead in ODIs and Twenty20s because he is an aggressive player.”
Akhtar unhappy with selection as well
Meanwhile, former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar also raised questions over the selection during the series.
“Pakistan need to review their selection in ODIs and Twenty20s,” he said before adding that players like Malik cannot hold their place in the team anymore.
Akhtar was dismayed at the way Pakistan’s pace attack struggled during the series, taking only three wickets compared to that of England’s, which snared 27 scalps. He also disparaged the batting line-up’s approach, which he felt lacked aggression.
‘Pakistan need to work on their bowling’
Legendary former captain Imran Khan believed that the hosts’ weak bowling cost them the series.
“Pakistan need to work on their bowling department,” the former captain told reporters in Dubai. “England bounced back after the Test series defeat due to their strong bowling performance.”
However, Imran backed Misbah to stay on as captain.
“Misbah needs to show more aggression but it is too early to write him off,” he said. “However, he must bat up the order to get good totals. If one captain is doing well in all three forms of the game then there is no use having separate captains.”
Captaincy criteria flawed: Waqar
Meanwhile, former coach Waqar Younis has questioned the criteria for selecting the captain.
“Since the last two decades Pakistan has been selecting the captain on the basis of his performance,” he said. “This is not an ideal approach because the knowledge and insight of the game that a player has should also be considered apart from performance.”
‘Team missed spirit’
An official close to the team management said the players lacked spirit during the ODI series, which he believed was the main cause of defeat.
“There was a sudden change in the players’ body language,” he said. “The spirit which was there in the Test series was missing during the ODIs. The players were not as motivated as before, which was the reason behind the decline in performance.”
Updated at: 10 December 2013
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