Pakistani cricket fans and former players were left fuming after a terrible batting display by the Men in Green saw them fizzle out against a determined India in their Asia Cup T20 encounter in Dhaka on Saturday.
After Ashish Nehra dismissed opener Mohammad Hafeez on the fourth ball of the first over, Pakistani batsmen started tumbling like dominoes. The intensity of Pakistan’s inability to hold their ground was so strong that by the last ball of the eighth over, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was walking back to the pavilion after being run out with the team at 42-6.
Vice-captain Sarfraz Ahmed saved some grace for Pakistan as his 25-run knock — the highest score on the day by any Pakistani batsman — took the total to 83.
Mohammad Amir bowled splendidly, registering figures of 3-18, in the second innings to put the Indian batsmen under pressure but once his allotted four overs were up, India, with the help of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh, cruised to a five-wicket win.
Former Test skipper Mohammad Yousuf, who has featured for Pakistan in 90 Tests, 288 ODIs and three T20Is, rued Pakistani batsmen’s inability to bat on technical pitches and praised the way Kohli steadied the innings after Amir’s devastating spell.
“I think Kohli showed how to bat on such a pitch. Tell me, did any of our batsmen fall to a good ball? No. Our batsmen can only bat on batting pitches,” said Yousuf. “We should learn from Kohli as he is a great example of talent, temperament and technique.”
Another former skipper Rashid Latif echoed Yousuf’s sentiments and was disappointed with the way the team ran between the wickets, specifically terming the way Khurram Manzoor and Afridi were dismissed as ‘pathetic’.
“It is not about losing but about how we lost,” fumed Latif. “At least our bowlers fought hard but our batting was a total flop and the running between the wickets was pathetic.”
Meanwhile, Shoaib Mohammad, another former Test cricketer, praised Amir for his scintillating spell but laid the blame for the loss on the team management.
“Amir’s spell was really impressive as it was his individual effort which made it a close contest,” said the 55-year-old. “The team management must accept responsibility for this defeat as they have killed the confidence of players by making a lot of changes in the last 12 months.”
Earpieces affect decision-making: Dhoni
India captain MS Dhoni questioned umpires’ use of earpieces during international matches, suggesting the devices might affect their decision-making on the field.
The skipper spoke out after a controversial umpiring decision that saw Pakistan’s Khurram Manzoor given not out despite apparently nicking a ball from left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra during India’s win over their bitter rivals during the Asia Cup T20 tournament.
“You know all the umpires now have a walkie-talkie and earpiece in their ear,” said Dhoni after leading India to the five-wicket win in Dhaka. “So effectively, in a way it means that they are umpiring with only one ear and the other ear is stuck with an earpiece.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2016.