Unfair to blame pitch for England’s defeat: Waqar, Hussain

Published June 16, 2017
CARDIFF: England captain Eoin Morgan walks off dejected after losing his wicket in the semi-final against Pakistan.—Reuters
CARDIFF: England captain Eoin Morgan walks off dejected after losing his wicket in the semi-final against Pakistan.—Reuters

CARDIFF: Pakistan’s former express bowler Waqar Younis and England’s ex-skipper Nasser Hussain said it was “disrespectful” to Pakistan to blame Cardiff’s pitch for England defeat.

England captain Eoin Morgan had blamed the wicket for their defeat.

“Coming from Edgbaston, it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce and too much of an ask for us to adjust to really,” he said.

Morgan added Pakistan were more comfortable because they played two days ago on it (when they beat Sri Lanka in a virtual quarter-final).

But legendary Waqar Younis said blaming the pitch was a “lame excuse” and Nasser Hussain agreed.

“There will be a lot of talk about the Cardiff pitch after Pakistan dumped England out of the Champions Trophy. But that won’t wash with me,” Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“It’s disrespectful to Pakistan, who played brilliantly and made the best of the conditions.”

Meanwhile, Hussain lamented England’s “timid play’, which he said was in marked contrast to the way they had revived their ODI fortunes since a woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

“Their coach Trevor Bayliss has always asked for them to play smart cricket, not just gung-ho cricket. This was anything but smart. In fact, it was timid.”

Michael Vaughan, another ex-England captain, said in his Daily Telegraph column that he felt “flatter” than at the time of their World Cup exit two years ago.

The Ashes-winning skipper added: “Here they had every facet covered with 10 of the 11 players in form and the side playing a style of cricket that makes them a match for any team in the world, so to play that badly in a semi-final, with everything riding on the game, was terribly disappointing.”

Meanwhile Michael Atherton, a fellow former England captain, said Morgan’s men had “fluffed their lines”.

“There were huge expectations they’d go on to win the tournament, I think justifiably so on the back of what they’ve done over the last year-and-a-half,” said Atherton.

“As a result, the bar was set very high for this tournament, and they’ve failed to deliver — that’s the brutal truth of sport.”

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2017

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