Former India great Sunil Gavaskar termed Pakistan’s abject surrender in the 3rd ODI against India “baffling display of timid batting” and suggested captain Misbah-ul-Haq rethink his place in the shorter-form of the game.
Pakistan, who won the three-match ODI series 2-1, lost the last game in New Delhi by 10 runs chasing a paltry total of 167. Although the defeat was drowned in euphoria at Pakistan’s triumph, the Indian batting legend said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needed to take some tough decisions.
“One would have thought that the experienced Misbah-ul-Haq would have been able to handle the situation, but he inexplicably went into a shell and at the other end the excitable Umar Akmal was just waiting to do something rash,” Gavaskar said in his columns for Gulf News.
“It was the approach of Misbah that cost Pakistan the game, much as it did in the semi-finals of the World Cup two years back. Pakistan may have won the one-day series 2-1, but if they are to carry on winning then some serious thought needs to be applied to Misbah’s position in the team. He is not getting any younger and it was his dropped catch in Chennai that allowed Dhoni to go on to a century,” he added.
Gavaskar also tipped Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan’s captain in T20s, to take charge of the ODI side.
“Hafeez is looking a good leader and the way he is batting and bowling, as well as taking superb catches, he could be the man that Pakistan needs to win glory again. With the World Cup just a couple of years away, Pakistan, like India, should be looking at building a nucleus for that event — just like India seemed to be doing with the messages sent to two senior and prolific players by leaving them out of the team,” he said.
Whether Pakistan are ready to follow India’s lead it remains to be seen, but they will need to iron out the chinks fast as their next assignment pits them against the top-ranked South Africans in a three-match Test series, two T20s and five ODIs. The long tour starts on January 25 and will run until March 24.