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“Our openers looked panicked”


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Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Basit Ali, Asif Iqbal, pakistan sri lanka, pakistan sri lanka wt20
“The application was missing.” -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Former players spoke for millions of disappointed fans Friday after Pakistan crashed out of the World Twenty20 semi-finals, blaming defeat on poor planning and lacklustre batting.

Pakistan lost to hosts Sri Lanka by 16 runs in the first semi-final Thursday, having failed to beat a modest 140-run target.

“Our openers looked in a panic,” former captain Asif Iqbal told AFP.

“The target was not easy on a slow turning pitch, but had the planning been there it could have been chased, but batsmen did not try to stay at the wicket.”

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (3-25) and Ajantha Mendis (2-27) derailed Pakistan, who were eventually restricted to 123-7 in 20 overs.

Other former Pakistani stars blamed poor selection for the batting collapse.

“We should have played Asad Shafiq. He is our most composed and technically sound player and he should have been in the team,” said former captain Aamir Sohail.

Former leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said veteran all-rounder Abdul Razzaq should not have been dropped. He was replaced by paceman Sohail Tanvir.

“You needed proper planning to chase down a total,” said another former captain, Zaheer Abbas.

“Our batsmen didn't play according to the situation and pitch conditions. I thought 140 was gettable in the match but the application was missing.”

Popular all-rounder Shahid Afridi was also singled out for criticism.

Player of the tournament when Pakistan won the World Twenty20 in 2009, Afridi managed just 30 runs in five innings and took four wickets in six matches.

“He was cruelly out of form,” said former batsman Basit Ali.

“I think he should retire now because he was a big disappointment in the tournament. Hafeez also made a blunder by insisting on opening the innings.”

Comments (42) Closed

Navroz Oct 06, 2012 11:07am
After reading the comments by knowledgeable cricket followers, I wonder should we have a selection committee? Why cant we use social media like twitters, to ask followers of the game to nominate their team and select the final eleven based on a poll? I am serious. I think the spectators and followers of the game should have a say in the selection. Any thoughts?
mhusain Oct 05, 2012 03:37pm
we know that we cannot impress srilanka with spin, they like india do well against spin . our only option was to put a strong batting lineup so if were to bat first, give srilanka a huge total or if we were to chase the total, like yesterday, should have had depth in batting to chase them down easily. if a player is out of form like afridi, it should not be a matter of ego to drop him, even him being a senior player. they themselves should realise what is on stake and should opt out gracefully. We take young players with us on tours but we bench them and have those same old ones given several chance to prove themselves, even in a critical game like yesterday's. we need to remember shoaib malik and afridi are not the future of pakistan cricket. they are relic from past and we should build with young ones to give them the exposure they need, not use them as water boys. worst case they would have produced the same results which our experience team did. it was a winnable total, but players like afridi know they have a free ride and getting out on the first ball, will still get them selected for the next tour and they keep making the money. WTF. shame on selectors who, like always, disappointed so many fans around the world. we got lucky in the tournament and we advanced not because of our skilsl but by luck as most of the time. Gull won the game for us against SA. we lost to india, australia was not very keen on wining their game since they could advance without wining but by just score ing the 112 (net run rate) which they did. same statements from our team members and selectors and other well paid staff like always that we have recognized out problems and will fix it next time. ya right. have been listening to that chorus for a long time. nothing will change because our cricket is under a strong hold of corrupt officials and players who are just looking out for their personal interest. MAKING MONEY as long as they can , by hook or crook. there is so much talent sitting in Pakistan and most of them will never get a chance because they are not "connected".
Aamir Nawaid Oct 05, 2012 03:41pm
All comments by our past cricketers are perfect. They have rightly diagnosed the sickness. Problem is that the treatment never begins. All weaknesses were exposed the same way when we lost to India in WC semi-final. Yet, nothing has changed and we are standing at the same milestone without moving an inch forward. All former cricket greats of Pakistan should get their voices together and take up this issue at the highest level in this country. If corrective measures are not taken this time then we should remember the debacle of hockey. There was a time when we used to remember the names and positions of every single Pakistani hockey player. Seriously, today I do not even know the name of Pakistani hockey captain even though I was a very enthusiastic hockey fan (in fact the last match I saw was in 2004). We the cricket fans have a stomach to accept defeats but not debacles and humiliation.
hamie Oct 05, 2012 02:04pm
akmal nazir malik need to be out
Syed W. Ali Oct 05, 2012 01:49pm
I miss the resolve of Misbah and Afridi as a captain. The whole team will be in tatters, but I don't ever recall them stuttering in the game. Whether the confidence translates into individual performance is a different matter. What's important is to instill confidence in your players by an unambiguous outward show of a titan personality. First against India, and then again yesterday, Hafeez clearly looked uncomfortable on the crease. I am not satisfied with the answer that he is the new captain. It is a personality trait, not something you can learn over time. Either it in you or not. I think Pakistan struggles will continue for a while longer.
Ali Oct 05, 2012 03:26pm
Oh and Afridi we love you but please retire and start coaching or something else.
Kamran Qadri Oct 06, 2012 06:21am
After watching Pakistani opners it was obvious Hafeez is not fit for Captain, he was looking scared not playing natural cricket, a captain should be composed and innovative not chindown nervous player, again Imran Nazeer was not looking at the ball, sign of illconfidence,middleorder had no plan,its time to close the revolving door PCB selection policy and bring in young players on merit.
KM Oct 06, 2012 11:49am
Selection was completely wrong. Dropping Razzaq after Australia match was first mistake. Playing Shoaib and Afridi, both out of form, second. Asad Shafiq should have been in the team in place of either one. Also, since when Yasir Arafat better all rounder than Razzaq. Why did they take Sami, Asad Shafiq and Razzaq when they were not included in the team. Hafeez is a weak captain. He does not have the guts to choose the team based on performance. He is intimidated by Afridi, Malik and Kamran Akmal. How on earth is he still praising Afridi after his performance during the tournament. Pakistan missed a golden opportunity of winning the tournament this year. We contributed in Sri Lanka's win by playing the wrong team.
Pak Oct 06, 2012 11:55am
Pakistan was never the favorites to win the cup; at least the knowledgeable people thought so because of their batting. What celebrations did the team have?? Care to explain?
khan89 Oct 06, 2012 06:19pm
so what ..??? Pakistan had played GREAT cricket than INDIA that z why we were in semi..dont present excuses for team fair...!!!
Tushar Joshi Oct 06, 2012 05:59am
Remember Pak was in Semi only because of the net ran rate. Not by playing Gr8 circket. Look Both India and Pak never look to
Shyam Oct 06, 2012 05:55am
Pakistan entered the tournament as the best team and came out not so; frankly the celebration of India moving out of the contest superceded their own planning to win the cup!
impala Oct 06, 2012 03:19am
Hafeez was a good opening choice. Razzak is past prime. Afridi has been past prime for a long while. Asad Shafiq should have been in the side. Neverthless it is over and PCB should look ahead now.
Genius Oct 05, 2012 07:18pm
Umer Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Imran Nazir & Kamran Akmal. These players shouldnot have any further slot in playing eleven for Pakistan and for God sake these self centered players should be left out from team by self or by enforcing them out. Umer Akmal hasnot have learning capacity and have the poor strike rate throughout the tournament. He hasnot score a single half century and his scores are 2, 10, 23, 43, 21, 9, 29 and he is following a Misbah approach, even against South Africa he scored 43 of 42 balls in which all the responsibility shifted to Umer Gul and enforced Umer Gul to strike rather than striking own and so he hasnot have the striking ability as we seen against Srilanka and donot know how to play along with tail ender. I donot Know how come Shoaib Malik selected for T20? He has lost his prime and doesnot show any form and fitness throughout the tournament. His scores 37,7,9,12,28,4,6 and so after such experience not having a single fifty. Imran Nazir has not impressed at all and although there are expectation that after such a good season in srilankan premeir league, he would perform but he found it to be a waste, should left cricket. Kamran Akmal dropped too much catches at critical match turning points and couldnot perform well with bat too, its now enough for him and should left cricket for the sake of Pakistan. Besides this, Pakistan have some positive in this tournament with the likes of Nasir Jamshaid & Raza Hassan. Asad Shafiq should also given chance in playing eleven. The real bad selection is the exclusion of Junaid khan from the squad and he should have to be part of this team.
Indian2905 Oct 06, 2012 05:03am
Can you please define 'HERO' ? Yeah m not saying that hero need to be prove himself on every event but defiantly on the bigger event . That is the main role of a HERO isn't it ? Pakistan lost twice ( Sri Lanka and India ) because both team can play spin better then any other country in fact better then Pakistan . My question is that Why Afridi played like that on the very crucial time ? It' not heroism it's bloody selfishness that " I can't change my game " . So actually your hero should learn some ethical lesson about team and team spirit rather about himself only . Don't think am a Indian thats why m saying all these . In fact m a cricket lover and I felt that Pakistan team should win T20 world cup because they had the best team for slow pitches . But unfortunately they again crumbled .
JJ Oct 06, 2012 07:34am
The PCB needs big clean up. People who do not know an iota about cricket are being appointed as head of the organization. Pure nepotism is at work. PCB needs professional not political appointees. The arrogance of Hafeez has cost Pakistan the T20 championship. The guy is fake professor! No IQ or EQ, period! It is time for Afridi to retire a pay attention to his business empire; one of the big reasons he is not performing on the field! Sri Lanka played with a strategy. Pakistani captain did not have one. It
Nasir Oct 06, 2012 10:19am
All the former players & cricket experts should sit together and decide who should be playing before the match, not after the losing the match and giving post Morten report according to what they think would have been correct.
Nazir Sehwani Oct 06, 2012 05:00am
I am agree with Abdullah, but what you say about the match which was played between Ind vs Pak .
ajeen Oct 05, 2012 07:08pm
Pakistan should not lose heart. mayuus nahi hotey. You can still appeal to ICC and ask to play in finals on the basis of net run rate...
dev Oct 07, 2012 03:28am
well what the meaning of all this vague argument guys the present day Pakistani team lacks technically sound batsman and genuine pace attack like the the previous teams,today difficult to find the sheer classy touch of Saeed Anwar or the death dart accurate yorkers of Akram , spin web of Saqlain,To be honest today cricketers are more interested in making money like their Indian counterparts nobody cares about cricket, apart from it the internal politics, poor selection, lack of bench strength, authoritarian and sluggish management of PCB, internal lobbying among players , and absence of test and one day tournaments in the recent years are the key reasons for Pakistans downfall in recent years has aggravated the problems for Pakistan cricket.years to come cricket will suffer the same fate as hockey, So it is high time for BCCI and PCB to arrest the problem of mismanagement and instill confidence among the cricket lovers all around the globe who want to witness the sheer class and talent found no where else around the globe.
DJ Oct 07, 2012 01:32am
Seems like you were watching a completely different world cup if you think Umer Akmal played badly. He won us the match against South Africa. He played cautiously because he knew he had to stay out there till the end and he let Umer Gul play the shots (don't know what you are complaining about since we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in that match). He even batted well against India and against Sri Lanka as well, he was our last reliable person on the crease. If anything he should have been sent one or 2 down instead of Kamran Akmal. Also T20 cricket is not about scoring fifties
Topa Oct 07, 2012 01:50am
Why did not the coach intervene to make sure we had Razzaq against Sdi Lanka after Razzaq played an important innings in the match before against Australia which we won? Obviously Hafeez is no captain material and the coach should have kept everyone honest with the best winning combination on the field.
ehsasezimaydari Oct 06, 2012 08:46pm
I firmly believe that when you have these corrupted players like Shoaib Malik, Akmal Brothers, Hafeez, and Imran Nazir, Pakistan would not win any big tournament.
Hyder Ali Oct 06, 2012 08:27pm
Salam, Muhammad Hafiz and Nasir Jamshad had fruitful opening partnership during Asia cup and recent one day series against Australia but breaking that combination was a blunder only expected from thick headed think tank of Pakistani team in an important tournament like world cup. Imran Nazir belongs to that group of players who despite so many come back opportunities has not learned his lessons and will never. Shahid Afridi was leading the team well and was removed under controversial circumstances by the ex chairman of cricket board. In all fairness Muhammad Hafiz does not command automatic selection in any format and he is appointed as a captain which speaks show that the cricket in Pakistan is managed by buffoons. Pakistan had the highest success rate in Imran / Miandad era when Pakistan played 5 specialist batsmen, one batting allrounder, a specialist wicket keeper and 4 specialist bowlers. Now we have a host of inconsistent bits and pieces batsmen / bowlers like Hafiz, Malik, the Akmal brothers, Sohail Tanvir, Arafat and Imran Nazir then expecting team to win a tournament is day dreaming. I strongly urge the PCB to reinstate Shahid Afridi as captain of Pakistan one day and T20 squad with winning combination of 5 specialst batsmen, a specialist wicket keeper, Shahid Afridi as specialist all rounder and 4 specialist bowlers. Thereafter we will see our team winning against India and other leading nations. It is high time to say good bye to hit or miss batsmen and wobbly or dobbly bowlers. Pakistan Zindabad. Hyder Ali
Syed Shah Oct 06, 2012 08:44pm
I must say and firmly believe when these corrupted players would be in the team, Pakistan team would never win big competition. Players like Shoaib Malik, Akmal Brothers, Muhammad Hafeez.
shahid Oct 06, 2012 09:17pm
there is not even a single player in Pakistan who can be trusted when he is batting. In Pakistan's pop of 190 million PCB dont have any alternative for M. Hafeez, I. Nazir, Suhail Tanvir, Kamran Akmal, Yasir Arafat, Umer Gul and Shahid Afridi
Ok Oct 06, 2012 09:19pm
Razzak is abysmal against spin. Although I dont think ST should be in the team, he performed. The remaining bowlers (if AR didnt bowl) would have added another 10 runs to the total. Now do you think Jakka is any sort of form or has batting to make 25 runs against spinners? The answer is no. We needed proper batsman.
jamil Oct 06, 2012 05:23pm
well said
zees Oct 06, 2012 06:29pm
so what.??? Pakistan's run rate was not awarded it was a result of batter playing than INDIA...dont excuse for india performance be fair..!!
liaquat Oct 06, 2012 05:54pm
I agree, as mentioned about those players should be grounded for good along with Afridi, a player who does not know and realizes how and when to play shots or to stay on the crease.Afridi, Malik and Akmal brothers have become a burden and remember Old horses, spent bullets and beaten pawns can't win U a big game. Every cricket fan is crying why Razzak, Shafiq have been ignored willfully and given chances with eyes closed to these players with Sohail Tanvir. Mr. professor you have proved to us that U are a professor of liking and disliking and in your mind merit and performance is meaningless
Rizwan Hamid USA Oct 06, 2012 05:54pm
Pakistan's batting is brittle under pressure. Period. They lack sound batting techniques because until you are selected in the National team, no one is ever given proper coaching. Did any one of you who have played cricket all your school days and childhood, ever see a coach? After age 16, the bad techniques solidify and never change. Imran Nazir and Afridi are a perfect example. Most others are also guilty of bad shot selection. The same people who want older players out of the team are wanting Razaak's selection. Does not make sense. Raza Hasan seems to be a superb find as a bowler. Surely there are plenty of young batsmen denied a chance because Afridi, Kamran Akmal etc are still in the team. Afridi was also the worst captain ever. He never shut up and let a bowler do his thing. T20 selection is still done with a Test Cricket mind set. 5 batsmen and 5 bowlers. You need 3 specialist batsmen and 2 specialist bowlers. The rest must be very good allrounders. This way you have depth in batting and bowling. This eliminates FEAR that follows after losing 3 early wickets. Most games never see the entire team being bowled out. So if you have batting strength, who cares if 3 got out early. Bat fearlessly, it only take a couple of good innings to win a match. And if any of them cannot be superb fielders, they should never be part of the team. It is the most forgotten aspect in the subcontinent.
Mohammed Baluch Oct 05, 2012 12:52pm
Poor selection of the original 15 has led to this oscillating display in the T20. Everyone knew that towards the business end of the tournament, the pitches would be worn down and batsmen without proper batting technique would be exposed cruelly. Our team should have included Younus Khan - still our best bat against spin and a super fielder and team man, and Rehman would have been unplayable on yesterday's pitch. Asad Shafiq should have been playing all the games, and Umar Akmal should by now have been the established #4 in the team. If cricket is not run by the people who know the game, we will be lucky to get past the preliminary stages in the future.
Ali Oct 05, 2012 03:24pm
I am glad Pakistan lost saved us from facing WI. We need a few things to learn from WI regarding T20 cricket. Hafeez and co were playing test cricket.
Cricket nation Oct 05, 2012 06:37pm
I used to be a big fan of Afridi but it is time for the man to serve cricket in different ways. Shoaib is a permanent failure. The only reason he is in the team because Hafeez is a good friend of him. It is about time Pakistan selector start choosing technical players over boom boom type of players. We rather have 5 steady innings instead of one rash inning and 4 golden ducks. Kamran Akmal is still a disappointment. Why can't we find another Moin Khan? Afridi, Shoaib needs to be shown the door. Umar Gul needs a long break to sort out his mental issues. He should go back to domestic cricket to find his lost confidence and may be work on his batting. He will 've better chances as a all-rounder. We also missing a quality fast blower. You will not find a quality fast bowler in current cricketing circuits. He is probably playing club cricket like wasim, waqar and Amir. We need Imran's eyes to locate him.
Merchant Iqbal Oct 05, 2012 07:42pm
As I have written earlier that group of seven players were adamant to win this trophy.They did not given a chance to other players despite failure.They want to show everybody including our coach that it is their way or highway.Talented and Technically sound player like Asad Shafiq is not given chance despite repeated batting failure.They have not given fair Chance to Rzzaq. What is the use of taking Sami if. You do not have faith in his bowling.Shoaib Malik and Umer Akmal are not given a chance to utilized their capabilities correctly.Hafiz insistent to open by himself and gave a plenty of chance.
Abdullah Oct 05, 2012 09:22pm
It was pretty nauseating to watch all tv anchors trash Pak team on tv yesterday. We lost but we were semi finalists. Afridi has been a wonderful player for us all these years with great records. Saeed and Gul also didn't do much but we still went ahead of more technically correct teams like South Africa. Today Australia had a very bad day inspite of Warner and Watson and Husseys. It's a game. we should learn from mistakes but not blame our heroes like this. The selection commitee is also answerable to the nation not just players themselves.
Nadeem Oct 05, 2012 11:43pm
Totally agree, why these things when exposed are brought up by the ex-players? Why they didn't say all this when the team was selected???
Shahzaad Oct 06, 2012 02:55am
Pakistan can never win until the selection is fair and the players have to be disciplined. Asad shafiq was not picked. Instead people like Kamran akmal and afridi get selected. I dont even understand why Kamran Akmal is in the team considering his questionable performances in the past. Until PCB selects fairly and willing to give young players a chance regardless of where they come from Pak cricket will struggle.
Khan usafzai Oct 05, 2012 09:25pm
Come on, Just that Afridi played bad in a series or two, does not means that he should be crucified for everything and become useless and retire .... If that is the criteria then most of this team should retire and frankly speaking he bowled 4 over 1 wicket for 28 runs so as a bowler he did his part ....
Que Oct 05, 2012 07:09pm
Who cares what Basit, Aquib, Sarfaras & Aamir have to say about Shahid Afridi!!! Afridi is ten times better player then any of these 4 players....
A Hakim Oct 06, 2012 08:44am
In my view there were two main reasons for the failure in semi-final. 1st the wrong batting order the 2nd was inclusion of 3-4 out of form players in the team. My winning combination would have been 1.Mohammad Hafeez 2.Abdur Razak 3.Nasir Jamshed 4.Umer Akmal 5.Asad Shafiq 6 Kamran Akmal 7.Yasar Arfat 8.Sohail Tanvir 9.Umer Gul 10.Saeed Ajmal 11.Raza Hassan
KhanChangezKhan Oct 06, 2012 07:27am
Game of cricket is by chance and by luck. You cannot expect as in term of other games like football, hockey, badminton, etc., etc., What kind of game is this that a player scores 200 runs in play being an experienced and good player who goes out in zero (0) in another play. Why the former German rulers stopped cricket playing in his country because to players played test matches for a week and it is declared draw. Is this a game????? Take it easy, when two players plays a game, one must be declared winner and the other to be the looser!