LAHORE: Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has blasted his team for losing their grip on the semi-final against Australia and said that Australia’s miraculous win was courtesy a relaxed Pakistan side.
Pakistan posted a formidable 191 after batting first and Australia overhauled the total courtesy Michael Hussey who smashed off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for three sixes and a four in the last over to win with a ball to spare. “It was good tournament and we played like a unit but we were a bit unlucky against Australia,” said Razzaq on his arrival at Lahore Airport. “We relaxed towards the end and learnt our lesson the hard way that we should not be relaxed until the game is won.”
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, however, defended his decision to use Ajmal in the last over. “I know a lot of people criticised the decision to bowl Ajmal in the last over, but I still maintain that he is a match-winner and bowled us to victory in the last over against South Africa a match earlier,” Afridi told reporters at Karachi airport. “Despite the loss, I’m proud of the team, which played as a unit. “We didn’t do well in initial matches but were back in rhythm with our Super Eight win against South Africa and that’s why the semi-final defeat hurt us. “I would request fans to support us because we have seen difficult times in cricket and only unity can help us.
Had we won against Australia and lost the final then it would have been acceptable. “But I am satisfied with the overall performance and whoever becomes the next captain, the most important thing should be unity of the team and the support of the fans.” Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed echoed Afridi’s statements regarding team unity and confirmed that all the players remained well-disciplined throughout the tournament, an honourable feat considering the backdrop the team had emerged from after the Australian tour. “I did not face any discipline issue throughout the tournament,” team manager Yawar Saeed told The Express Tribune. “All players played like a unit.
We had a slow start but bounced back in time to find a place in semi-finals but it would’ve been great if we had gone through to final and brought the trophy back home.” Shahid Afridi, following the team’s defeat against New Zealand, had stated that he was not consulted in the selection matters of the team, inviting the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) wrath. However, Saeed put the matter to rest by saying that Afridi was assured full support of the management on the tour. “Since Afridi was appointed captain for the World Twenty20 after the selectors has chosen the squad, he was pointing out that scenario but on tour he was given full support by the team selection committee.”
While the tournament remained one to forget for most Pakistani batsmen, opener Salman Butt not only remained Pakistan’s highest scorer but also the third-highest scorer in the tournament. “I never got a proper run before but this was the first time I availed the chances given to me and was able to perform to my ability,” said Butt, who remains in contention for the captain’s arm-band for the forthcoming Test series against England and Australia. “It’s an honour for any player [to be a captain] but so far no one has spoken to me about captaincy.
Therefore, we’ll see when it comes to that but right now, as a player, I am concentrating on my batting.” Pakistan’s next assignment is the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka that starts from June 15 where Pakistan will be joined by India, Bangladesh and the hosts. The team will then head to England where they will play a Test, One-Day International and Twenty20 series against the hosts and Australia.
“Had we won against Australia and lost the final then it would have been acceptable. I’m satisfied with the overall performance and whoever becomes the next captain, the most important thing should be unity of the team and the support of the fans.”
“It was good tournament and we played like a unit but we were a bit unlucky against Australia. We relaxed towards the end of the match and learnt our lesson the hard way. We should not be relaxed until the game is won, something that we realised too late.”
“Even though I didn’t play any match, it was a useful tour for me. I was a bit optimistic that I might get a chance to show my talent but when things were getting tight in the latter stages of the tournament, I felt my chances being reduced. “
“I’m very thankful to the selectors who picked me for the tournament. It was a great experience for me and I’m glad to have performed up to the expectations. It was a great comeback tournament for me and I felt great in helping Pakistan win matches.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 20th, 2010.