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Ul-Haq was the only player to receive praise from both Akram and Raja
Former Pakistan left-arm pace bowler Wasim Akram and captain Rameez Raja have slammed the national team for their pathetic performance during the recently concluded Champions Trophy, in which they lost all three of their matches.
Both ex-players believe this is a sign that Pakistan are in desperate need of a coaching and team reshuffle.
“What has really concerned me is that we could not play out our full quota of overs in even one match,” Akram said. “The batting generally has been spineless and shameful. This is not the way to play in a top tournament. I think it is time changes were made in the team and youngsters were given proper chances to establish themselves.
“For too long we have been relying on the same players who have failed us again and again.”
Besides skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who made half-centuries in two out of the three matches, all the other members of the squad were targeted in Akram and Raja’s firing line.
Prior to the Champions Trophy, there had been mounting calls for ul-Haq to retire, but Akram believes the 39-year-old still has some life in him as he has proven with the two brilliant half-centuries he scored against the West Indies and South Africa.
“I don’t see any threat to his future,” Akram added. “He was your only batsman to play the way other players should have played. I can say if Misbah had not scored runs on the tour this team the way it batted could have even been bowled out for totals of 30 or more.”
Akram also lashed out at Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez, who is currently being groomed to replace ul-Haq when he decides to retire.
“I don’t think Misbah should be changed as captain,” Akram said. “Hafeez is just not mature enough or ready for this job. They call him professor and all that but first he must prove himself by being a match winner for Pakistan in the big matches, then consider him as future captain.”
Meanwhile, Raja was absolutely “appalled” by Pakistan’s batting display and called for tougher measures to be enforced.
“I was appalled and sad by the way our batsmen performed,” he said. “For too long our bowlers have put their hands up and supported the batsmen. Unfortunately there is no balance between the two in our team and that is the major problem.
“We must learn from India. For the first time in my life I was sure this Indian team will beat us. I am sad by the indifferent and irresponsible attitude of some of the players. The time has come for changes and a new team to be rebuilt.”
Raja also stated the the entire Pakistan cricket structure needed to be re-developed, with more focus directed towards domestic cricket.
“The unfortunate part is that we have focused only on quantity not quality in our domestic cricket and the result is no one takes it seriously neither is it producing the quality players we had in the past,” he said.