Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal believes that the national team made a huge mistake in not picking big-hitting batsman Asif Ali and all-rounder Shoaib Malik for their World Cup opener against the West Indies.
Pakistan were skittled out for 105 after being put in to bat first and the West Indies proceeded to win the match by seven wickets with 218 balls to spare.
Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were the top scorers as they both made 22 runs, while Wahab Riaz chipped in with a quickfire 18 at the end.
Mohammad Hafeez was the only other batsman to reach double figures as he made 16.
Akmal pointed out that Asif could have aided Pakistan when they were collapsing by putting some quick runs on the board and applying pressure to the West Indian bowlers.
As for Malik, he is a veteran player and would have known what to do in the disastrous situation Pakistan found themselves in.
“I am really surprised to see changes in the playing XI and especially the batting order. I fail to understand the logic behind the decision of Sarfraz to hold Hafeez so late and promote himself up the order. I [was] also astonished to see Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali sitting out the first match. Asif is a natural striker of the ball and can contribute some significant runs,” Akmal told The Nation.
“The team should have entered with a proper gameplan. The West Indian bowlers had made a simple plan for the Pakistani batsmen, as they used short-pitched deliveries, which worked and they managed to bowl out the men in green [for] a very low total.
“Our batsmen were neither pulling the short-pitched balls nor were they leaving it. I have never witnessed such a poor strategy against fast bowlers. It also indicates that other teams have noticed the weaknesses of the Pakistani batsmen and it will not stop with the West Indies match.
“The head coach, and batting and bowling coaches had no proper plan against the West Indies, that’s why they [and the] captain should be held responsible for such a shocking loss.”
Pakistan’s next World Cup match will be against England in Nottingham on Monday.