KARACHI - Furious with the Pakistan cricket team after heavy loss against South Africa in a warm-up match, former captain Inzamam-ul Haq feared the defeat will bog the side down in its much-anticipated ICC World Twenty20 opener against arch-rivals India.
Pakistan's batting collapsed miserably for 71 as they prepared for Friday's crucial pressure game against India. "The players need to work on weak areas in the nets ahead of the match against India so that the same mistakes are not repeated again. I always told the players never lose your sleep over it or think too much about the match. But I just hope this defeat to South Africa does not play up on the minds of our players when they take on India," Inzamam said.
Inzamam said opener Sharjeel Khan did not merit a place in the playing XI and an out of form Shoaib Malik should have been dropped. "No matter how big or senior a player is if he is not in form as I suspect some of our players are he must be dropped. Because matches against India are all about confidence and being able to sustain the pressure. Out of form players can never be expected to keep their nerves in such a demanding match," he said.
Inzamam, however, had a word of encouragement for the Pakistan team. "I remember when we went for the 1992 World Cup we lost all six of our practice matches and yet we went on to win the World Cup. But than we had an inspirational leader like Imran Khan and some world class performers in Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram. So I would say let's not read too much into this result against South Africa," he said. But the former captain, who played 120 Tests and 378 one-day internationals said, "it was good that the weaknesses of the Pakistan team had shown up in the warm-up match," he said. The 44-year-old feels the form of their bowlers in one-dayers and T20 matches would be a source of great concern for their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"Their bowlers are struggling to defend even decent totals and our batsmen should not be afraid to attack them from the word go," he said.