MANCHESTER: Slamming national team’s pathetic performance against traditional rivals India in their World Cup match staged on Sunday, former captain Ramiz Raja strongly feels that time has come to completely revamp Pakistan cricket.
“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 less than all other teams except Afghanistan. It is now very difficult for them to be among top four even if they win their remaining [four] fixtures,” Ramiz said after Pakistan’s humiliating 89-run defeat to India at Old Trafford, Manchester.
“Every defeat is followed by an introspection and opportunity. Every defeat needs a change. I feel that time has come when Pakistan cricket should be completely revamped,” Ramiz emphasised.
“Your World Cup ends when you lose to India. And if you lose after such a no-show, then your fans will be angry. Your system, captaincy and skills will be challenged. When you will not learn from your mistakes then there will be frustration,” the former Test opener added.
Ramiz was of the view that Pakistan would have to expel some old players and bring in new players in the team. “This should have been done much earlier as I believe with two players of 38 years you can never win the World Cup,” he said with reference to Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez.
Rameez said the skill level of Pakistan players had gone down during the past two years. “It has been promised that the tag of unpredictability would be removed but that tag has become more prominent now,” he underlined. “The win [in World Cup] against England was an anomaly. In fact, they should have conceded defeat in every match.
“A team gets five year to prepare for the World Cup and become competitive. But during these five years there has been no difference in skills. During these five years the execution has also not been corrected and no game plan made.”
The former captain reckoned that wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who was a number six or seven batsman, was batting at number five, which he said showed that there was problem and Pakistan unfortunately had remained unable to produce 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 benefit of Fakhar Zaman to play at the opening slot if he can’t play like Rohit Sharma?” Ramiz questioned.
“The difference between the two teams was that when Indian batsmen became set, they pulled their batting till the end.”
According to Ramiz, there was also a question mark to go with two spinners against India, who were known to play havoc with the spin.
He said Hasan Ali was not bowling at the right length and hence should be given rest as you cannot play him with such a consistency.
“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 one end.”
Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2019