PESHAWAR: Criticism towards the Pakistan players is justified after the team’s disastrous exit from the recently-concluded T20 World Cup, top-order batter Mohammad Rizwan has said.

In the T20 showpiece that ended with India being crowned the champions after their seven-run win against South Africa in the final on Saturday, Pakistan failed to make it past the first-round.

Led by Babar Azam, who was reinstated as the national side’s captain at the expense of pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s short-lived tenure, Pakistan were stunned by co-hosts United States in the opening fixture before a batting collapse saw them face defeat against India in their second match.

Wins against Canada and Ireland weren’t enough to take Pakistan through to the Super Eights stage.

“The criticism the team is facing is justified and we deserve this since we did not perform in accordance with expectations,” Rizwan told reporters on Tuesday. “Players who cannot face criticism, will not be able to succeed,” he said.

The T20 World Cup saw USA, along with many other less-experienced teams, put on stellar displays of modern-day cricket. Pakistan, meanwhile, struggled to play an attacking brand of the sport and their decision-making on the field came under fire.

“There are multiple reasons behind our losses,” Rizwan noted. “When a team loses, one cannot say that either bowling or batting is doing well.”

Following the debacle, reports suggesting grouping within the Pakistan team players had emerged. There were speculations that the country’s cricket board’s decision to hand the captaincy back to Babar had made relations between him and Shaheen sour.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Mohsin Naqvi had also called for “surgery” to fix the country’s cricketing woes. Rizwan suggested Mohsin’s ideas were the way to go.

“Operations are a normal thing, when a person is ill, an operation is necessary,” said the wicket-keeper/batter. “The PCB chairman is a hard-working person. The decision about who will remain in the team and who will not, is the chairman’s right.”

Pakistan’s next international assignment is set to be their two-match Test series against Bangladesh at home next month.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2024

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