LAHORE, June 11: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf has blasted the team management in Dhaka for the spineless display against India on Tuesday which saw Shoaib Malik’s side getting thrashed by 140 runs in the tri-nation fixture.
Criticising the performance of the Pakistan team, the chairman on Wednesday wrote a strong-worded letter to manager Talat Ali, raising objections over team selection, Malik’s captaincy, coach Geoff Lawson’s weak role and excessive number of extras.
In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by Dawn, the chairman asked the team management to immediately hold a meeting to draw up the strategy for the expected final between Pakistan and India on June 14.
“Last night’s performance against India in which we lost by over 100 runs was embarrassing. It is not a question of losing a match but our overall performance and the lack of resolve and commitment bothered me the most,” wrote the chairman.
“I am writing this to you in your capacity as chairman of the touring selection committee with copies to Geoff Lawson and Malik. Please discuss these points today and give us your considered response within the next 24 hours so that timely action can be taken before the next match against India on the 14th which will be the final.”
Giving his observations on Tuesday’s performance, the PCB chairman further added:
“1. Selection of the playing eleven for this match against India: The previous game against Bangladesh had clearly highlighted the characteristics of the track in Dhaka, that the spinners were going to play crucial role. The team selected for India game had four fast bowlers. Also, you clearly told me that Malik was 100 per cent fit and therefore was the second spinner in the side. What happened to that? Why did Malik not bowl?
2. After the Indian opening pair started to hit us all over the park in the first 3 to 4 overs, it was fairly obvious that something needed to be done to break their momentum. We dropped some catches in the beginning as well but, watching from here, one felt that we were paralysed in the field. Nobody suggested to the captain that he must have a mini conference with the vice-captain and other players — junior or senior — and take corrective action. Even the commentators were talking as to the possibility of changing the bowling and bringing in Shahid Afridi at an early stage.”
3. Even if that was not the strategy, at least the fast bowlers should have been advised not to over extend themselves (more than 22 wides and a total of 38 extras) on a track like this. Rather, they should have been instructed to bowl strictly to a line and length and to contain especially when the batsmen were in such full cry. It seemed as if we were just continuing with tactics that were clearly not working! We need to be more proactive on the field!”
4. Wicketkeeping was pathetic, especially after Kamran Akmal dropped the catch and pretended that he had held on to it. This is unsporting behaviour but perhaps one has to give him the benefit of the doubt as he may not have realised that the ball had slipped out from his hand, which was picked up by the cameras. I do not want such behaviour from any Pakistani player. Please warn everyone! We ought to be looking at playing another ‘keeper.
5. Except for a few on the field, the body language was not competitive. We were smiling and joking as if we were some junior team which was happy just to be given the privilege of playing a top team. This has to stop.
6. As I said earlier, the fast bowlers were just trying too hard on a dead track, resulting in wayward line and length. If you look at Sehwag run map, he almost had 50 runs on the leg side which is something that he has never done in the past.
7. The positives were that Afridi bowled very well and Malik got his 50 but then Afridi threw his wicket away in a most irresponsible manner.
8. At least our strategy after losing early wickets should have been to bat out the 50 overs. No one applied themselves to build partnerships,” the chairman argued.
“I can go on with a lot of other match details and analysis but this should be enough.”
Giving his suggestions for the expected final on Saturday, the chairman wrote:
a) The touring selection committee needs to have a meeting and decide regarding the playing 11 i.e how many spinners and who?
b) Malik must undergo a complete fitness test with regards to his bowling tomorrow so as to determine clearly whether he can bowl full 10 overs.
c) If the touring committee decides that they want to ask for another spinners from Pakistan, you can decide and let us know immediately so we can arrange for the player to join the team. It could either be a left-arm spinner or another right-arm spinner.
d) The bowlers should work extra hard for the next two days and correct their no balls and wides. This is simply unacceptable and the coach must address this.
“I intend to reach Dhaka on Saturday, Inshallah, at noon time and would like to have a meeting first with you, the captain, the coach and the vice-captain immediately, and then later in the evening a meeting with the full team. Please get back to us by calling me with your decision regarding the spinner, etc.
I have full confidence that we can beat India on the 14th if we get our act together, Inshallah. May God be with you all,” concluded Dr Nasim Ashraf.