LAHORE: Former Pakistan Test fast bowler Aaqib Javed on Thursday expressed surprise over the national team’s recent 2-0 whitewash by Sri Lanka.
Aaqib believed the current Sri Lankan side were a struggling one and Pakistan had a great chance to beat them with dominance and were clearly the stronger side on paper before the series kicked off.
“There was no comparison of Pakistan with Sri Lanka, who are struggling to rise, but Pakistan’s poor decision making helped Sri Lanka find their footing in the Test rankings,” he said during a press conference.
The former Pakistan bowling coach said Sri Lanka, who were beaten by minnows Zimbabwe in their One-day International series in July, could have been easily outclassed but it was shocking that Pakistan didn’t manage to do so.
“Sri Lanka came after losing to a lowly-rated Zimbabwe side and their future looked bleak. But despite all handicaps they defeated a strong Pakistan unit which is amazing for everyone,” Aaqib said.
The 45-year-old believed Pakistan missed the trick when they opted to play just one spinner in both the matches despite knowing the wickets at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai venues offered assistance to slower bowlers.
He criticised the team management for not putting trust in the spin options available as legspinner Yasir Shah’s replacement in Bilal Asif and Mohammad Asghar.
Aaqib said Sri Lanka were weaker than Pakistan in the batting department too despite the latter being without the retired duo of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, who played as the middle-order anchors during their time with the team.
The ‘92 World Cup winning cricketer said Pakistan should come back stronger when they take on the Lankan Lions in the first of the five ODIs at Dubai on Friday. He believed Sarfraz Ahmed and co. were way stronger than their opponents in the 50-over-format too.
“Pakistan is a very strong side with the white ball and this time they won’t have the excuse of being without Misbah and Younis,” said Aaqib.
“If you can’t note the weaknesses and plus points of yourself and your rivals then you’re exposed to making blunders. Otherwise there is no match between the two sides.”
Aaqib said fast bowler Mohammad Amir will not be missed after being ruled out injured as he has not been making any major impact since recently.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2017