ISLAMABAD: Former cricketers have expressed disappointment over Pakistan’s embarrassing exit from the ICC World Cup, insisting that a lot needs to be done for improvement.

However, they emphasise that skipper Babar Azam should not be solely blamed for the loss.

A 93-run loss to England sealed Pakistan’s fate in Kolkata on Saturday, ending the 1992 champions’ already slim hopes of reaching the semis.

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja reckoned Babar was “depressed” over the reaction at home.

Babar’s captaincy in India was also questioned, with accusations of lacking aggression.

“There’s so much pressure on him [Babar] that he may leave the job,” Ramiz told the BBC’s Test Match Special.

“Back home there has obviously been a massive backlash, as expected. The Pakistan media have targeted certain players, and especially Babar.

“It’s just a World Cup so you have to take the heat somehow. The problem with this team is it has the potential to play modern-day cricket but they have been a bit shy and timid with their approach. “

Ramiz criticised the overall system for the team’s performance.

“When your bowlers don’t take wickets with the new ball and start getting expensive, how would Babar do captaincy then?”

Former skipper Wasim Akram emphasised that blaming the captain alone was unfair, attributing the struggles to systemic faults.

“The captain alone is not playing the game. Yes, he did make captaincy errors in this World Cup and in the Asia Cup as well. But he isn’t alone to blame. This is a fault of the entire system for the last one year or more where the players don’t know who is the coach. You cannot make him scapegoat,” Wasim said.

Other Pakistan cricketers, such as Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar, expressed disappointment.

Malik criticised the lack of resources and street-smartness from the captain, while Shoaib highlighted the lack of intent.

“Lack of resources. No street smartness from the captain. We have only won against small teams,” Malik said.

Shoaib wrote in his social media post, “End of a disappointing campaign for Pakistan. They never got going really at any point. Clear lack of intent was visible. A lot needs to be done, but even for that, intent is important first.”

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2023

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