LAHORE: Lack of planning and vision eventually cost Pakistan the semifinal berth in World Cup 2019 and traditional rival India is now looking as hot favourite for the title. This was stated by former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam here on Saturday.
Talking to Dawn, Intikhab said: “No planning was seen throughout the tournament in finalisation of the playing eleven while the importance of run-rate was completely ignored that was among the many mistakes made by the team management at the mega event.”
“In the build up to the World Cup, the team management made a blunder by deciding to give rest to seven players against Australia (in UAE) and that was a golden opportunity for our preparations,” recalled Intikhab. “The Pakistan team was the only team which then got the chance to get well acclimatized with English conditions in the 5-match ODI sries against host England.
“The poor planning for the mega event was further exposed when Wahab Riaz was inducted in the team after he had been sidelined for two years. Second pacer Muhammad Aamir was also not selected in the first batch of the World Cup and came in late,” he said.
“There was also no planning to beeef up the spin department. The selectors picked leg-spinner Shadab Khan despite his fitness and form issues and also played two part-time spinners in Hafeez and Shoaib in the early matches which was a blunder,” he lamented.
“Fakhar Zaman completely failed in the mega event but since prolific Abid Ali was not in the team, no replacement opener could come in the side. Young pacer Muhammad Hasnain was also snubbed throughout despite tall claims made by the team management about him.”
Intikhab observed that the team management chopped and changed the playing eleven in the first five matches without any without any solid reason which was a bad move. “Middle-order batsman Haris Sohail and pacer Shaheen Afridi were dropped but they came back strongly to prove the management wrong,” Intikhab argued. “No team could win the matches with makeshift bowlers. Look at India who relied on young spinners and they have clicked superbly.
To a question if Pakistan were a bit unlucky not to have made the semis despite attaining 11 points which were equal to New Zealand, Intikhab said: “No. Pakistan played well in the last few matches but they couldn’t improve the run-rate which was poor cricket.”
Intikhab, though, agreed that New Zealand were lucky to make semis after losing three key matches. “Pakistan, despite winning against two semifinalists (England and New Zealand), failed to make the last four which is a bit unfair.”
He said the performance of Shoaib (Malik) and Hafeez was just not impressive both should have been replaced by other players waiting in the wings.
Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2019