Former greats question Irfan's exclusion after T20 series loss

Published: January 23, 2016


ISLAMABAD: Expressing disappointment at the Pakistan team’s humiliating defeat in the last T20 match against New Zealand, former cricket great Wasim Akram has expressed surprise at the exclusion of the fast bowler Mohammad Irfan from the team.”I am unable to understand why Irfan was ignored,”said Akram.

The 49-year-old said the seven-foot tall Irfan possessed great pace and could have been the most dangerous bowler, particularly in New Zealand conditions. “He can bowl Yorkers very well, hence he should not have been kept out of the team.”

He said in T20 cricket, it was essential for bowlers to get wickets and pressurise the batsmen, which Pakistani bowler were unable to do. ” Pakistani bowlers failed to create any trouble for Kiwi team,” said Akram.

To a question regarding Muhammad Amir, the former Pakistan captain said that it was not wise to expect too much from the 23-year-old, as he was representing the country at the international level after a five-year gap, and there was a lot of pressure on him.

Lessons to be learnt from New Zealand defeat

“Performing in domestic cricket or the Bangladesh Premier League is altogether different from playing against a world class team,” he said.

Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar also expressed surprise at the exclusion of Mohammad Irfan from the team.

“It is incomprehensible why was he [Irfan] kept out,” said Akhtar. “His awkward bounce could have troubled Kiwi batsmen. He should have been tried out,” he added.

Akhtar urged Wahab Riaz to try to deliver and create fiery spells, similar to the one he produced against Australia’s Shane Watson in the quarter-final at Adelaide Oval in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. “I think he must try to produce an extraordinary spell in at least every fifth or sixth match he plays,” he said.

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The 40-year-old said he was not expecting much from Mohammad Amir as he was playing in an international series after a gap of five-years and therefore was under pressure. He also asked Imad Wasim try to become a better spinner.

“Imad has a lot of talent and potential, but instead of relying only on quick balls, he must introduce more variety,” he said.

Former captain Ramiz Raja said there were several negatives that contributed in Pakistan’s downfall. He said that he was surprised as why Pakistan had not tried to dominate through spinners “as Kiwi batsmen handle pacers very well on their home grounds.”

He said Pakistan should have opened the bowling with Imad Wasim, while Afridi should have also introduced himself a bit earlier.

The former right-handed opener was of the view that Pakistan team’s selection for the match was not good, while the performance of the team, both in batting and bowling remained below par.

The 53-year-old said that it was pathetic to note that Pakistani batsmen were looking at the big target but not at the ball. “It’s really disappointing to see Pakistan losing the match from such a huge margin.”

He said that Irfan should have been given the chance as he could have been very handy on New Zealand pitches.

Former skipper and batting great Javed Miandad said that Pakistan players committed some very basic mistakes.

He said that Pakistan should have planned their batting order keeping in view the target. “There was no harm in changing the strategy and reshuffling the batting order,” said Miandad.

“Afridi should have placed himself earlier in the batting order. There was no team work in the entire match. It seemed that everyone was in a hurry.”

Another former captain Mohammad Yousaf said that he was dejected the way Pakistan lost the match stating, “If you lose the match while fighting than it is okay. But surrendering in this way is not a good thing.”

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