KARACHI: Former captain Waqar Younis has lamented the senior Pakistan players are guilty of stretching their careers way after they are past their prime, while urging the national board not to compromise on fitness and form to avoid debacles like the just-concluded World Cup.
Pakistan were knocked out in the round-robin stage of the mega-event which ended with hosts England winning the title on Sunday.
“Till the last moment, our World Cup squad was not final and clear. There is a big problem that senior players try to linger on in their careers and there is no one to tell them it is time for them to retire gracefully,” the legendary fast bowler remarked without taking any specifying any names in an interview to a national daily.
“For the last so many years, we see the same thing. At the last moment, seniors are brought in as the authorities are scared to lose in a big tournament,” he added.
Taking a swipe at those defending Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup on the basis of the fact that the team won its last four matches, Waqar made it clear the team should never have been in such a position.
“The way we struggled to win against Afghanistan in the final over it should not be like that. Our biggest problem is we make compromises in selection on fitness issues, seniority, and other matters,” he said.
Waqar, who was replaced as head coach of the national team in 2016 by Mickey Arthur after a nearly two-and-half-year stint, said it was clear in the World Cup that the fitness of Pakistani players was way below the other competing sides in the tournament.
“After every World Cup, we see the same script in our cricket with only the characters changed. But this is not the way to move forward we need to assess where we are going wrong,” he said.
“Every four years we do the same exercise change the captain, sack the coaches and shoot the chief selector and blame the domestic structure but this leads to nowhere and the same mistakes are repeated again,” he added.
Waqar said five years back he had given a comprehensive plan to the Pakistan Cricket Board on how to take the game forward.
“I told them no compromises on fitness, development of players who can play at the rate of 3½ and 4 runs per over and seniors being told to retire at the right time but nothing came off it,” he said.
Waqar also insisted that he had no ambitions to become the team’s head coach again.
“There is a new set-up in the PCB and they have new ideas which are good but it is not necessary I can do something good for Pakistan cricket only being the head coach. I can do that in any position. If the PCB offers me something I will definitely think over it,” he said.
But Waqar also expressed concern over the sort of the abusive criticism that the team was subjected to following its World Cup ouster.
“...I think criticism should be civilised and not personal and we shouldn’t fall below decency standards,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2019