Former Pakistan players have called on the national team to play attacking cricket if they want to win the five-match series against hosts Sri Lanka as it currently stands square at 1-1.
Pakistan were taken by surprise by opener Kusal Perera’s 68-run blitz, in which he scored the joint-fastest fifty off 17 balls before the men in green managed to make a comeback in Sri Lanka’s mid-chase.
However, they failed to attack when it mattered the most, as the Islanders had just gone from 92-0 to 159-5 with 129 runs still needed.
Erstwhile, off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed believes that skipper Azhar Ali ran out of ideas once he came under pressure at the beginning and towards the end when Sri Lanka were close to chasing down the score. “I feel the captaincy was not up to the mark in the second ODI,” Tauseef told The Express Tribune. “We all know that Perera jolted Pakistan with extraordinary hitting, but they could have tried things a bit differently by bowling short-pitch to him. Credit must be given to Perera by how he blew Pakistan away.”
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Tauseef added that left-arm medium pacer Rahat Ali helped Pakistan come back into the game in his second spell with three wickets but was unable to get required support from the other end. “Rahat was brilliant and nearly brought Pakistan back into contention,” he said. “Towards the end, Sri Lanka had just three wickets in hand and needed to score three runs per over, but Azhar went on the defensive.”
Tauseef backed Yasir Shah, stating that he has been doing a good job, even if not picking up wickets, as one-day cricket has become difficult now and urged Pakistan to rely more on off-spinners — Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam — against the numerous left-handers of Sri Lanka. “The bowlers’ utilisation left a lot to be desired and we must make full use of our off-spin options because Sri Lanka have six left-handers,” remarked Tauseef.
On the other hand, former captain Rashid Latif went easy on Azhar, stressing that he did not have match-winning options in bowlers in the match.
He added that Sri Lanka are still weak as a team and Pakistan have made them seem tougher than they actually were.
“Sri Lanka aren’t that strong a side but the way we’re playing against them, we’re making life difficult for ourselves,” said Latif.
Read: Pakistan win but fail to convince former players
The ex-captain urged the Pakistani batsmen to play positive cricket and try to score over 300 and avoid thinking too much about the new fielding restrictions. “We scored slowly and never really got going until the last 10 overs of our batting,” he opined. “ODI cricket has changed and sadly we haven’t adapted to the new demands so far.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.
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