Time to completely revamp Pakistan cricket: Ramiz Raja

Updated June 17, 2019

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Former cricketer Ramiz Raja says that the time has come to completely revamp Pakistan cricket. — Photo courtesy Ramiz Speaks YouTube channel
Former cricketer Ramiz Raja says that the time has come to completely revamp Pakistan cricket. — Photo courtesy Ramiz Speaks YouTube channel

After Pakistan's seventh World Cup defeat to India on Sunday night, former cricketer Ramiz Raja called for introspection and revamping the structure of cricket in the country.

Lambasting the national team's poor showing, Raja said: "I believe it is the right time [to revamp] as I think Pakistan's World Cup campaign has almost ended because their net run rate is below all other teams' except Afghanistan."

This is Afghanistan's second World Cup campaign.

"It is very difficult for Pakistan to be among the top four teams even if they win all their remaining fixtures of the tournament," Raja predicted.

"Every defeat is followed by introspection and opportunity. Every defeat needs a change. I feel that the time has come to completely revamp Pakistan cricket."

"Your World Cup ends when you lose to India. And if you lose after such a no-show, then your fans will be angry with you. Your system, captaincy and skills will be challenged. When you don't learn from your mistakes then there will be frustration," he explained.

Raja was of the view that Pakistan needed to swap out some old players with fresh blood.

"This should have been done much earlier, as I believe with two 38-year-old players, you can never win a World Cup."

Raja said that the skill level of Pakistani cricketers had deteriorated over the last two years.

"It was promised that the 'unpredictable' tag would be removed, but that tag has become more prominent now," he said.

"The win against England was an anomaly. In fact, they should have conceded defeat in every match."

"A team gets five years to prepare for the World Cup and become competitive," he said, adding that during the last five years, Team Pakistan had failed to improve their skills.

The former skipper said that Sarfraz Ahmed, who was a number six or seven batsman, was batting at number five, which clearly showed that there was a problem and Pakistan had unfortunately been unable to produce quality batsmen during the past five years.

"What is the benefit of Babar Azam's talent if he will not lead the team to win? What is the benefit of Fakhar Zaman to play the opening slot if he can't play like Rohit Sharma? The difference between the two teams was that when Indian bastmen became set, they pulled their batting till the end."

He said that in a pressure match against their arch-rivals, Pakistan had decided to bowl first after winning the toss. He said that there was also a question mark over the decision to go with two spinners against India, who were known to play havoc with spin.

He also noted that Hassan Ali was not bowling at the right length and hence should be given a rest "as you cannot play him with such a consistency".

"He has been the most expensive bowler for Pakistan in all World Cups now. Similarly, Wahab Riaz was also unable to bowl even a single Yorker [against India]."

"Barring Mohammad Amir, you don't have a bowler who can create problems for Indian batting. He [Amir] was the only bowler who has been fighting from the one end."

He said that skill-wise Indian players were at the top, while Pakistanis were at the bottom.

He said unless Pakistani players' minds don't match their skills, they will not be able to defeat India.