ISLAMABAD   -   Test-discard wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal has questioned the decision of team management, head coach and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for changing set format of the team against West Indies in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 opener and held all responsible for the disgraceful defeat of the national team.

In an interview with The Nation, Kamran said: “I am really surprised to see change in the playing XI and especially the batting order. I have failed to understand the logic behind the decision of Sarfraz to hold Hafeez for so late and promoting himself up the order. I am also astonished to see Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali sitting out in the first match. Asif is a natural striker of the ball and can contribute some significant runs.”

He said that Pakistan was scoring loads of runs against England in the ODI series while the bowlers were struggling, but strangely, when batting order and playing XI was changed without any reason, it started suffering. “The team should have entered with proper game plan. The West Indian bowlers had made simple plan for Pakistani batsmen, as they used short pitch deliveries, which worked and they managed to bowl out the men in green at a very low total.

“Our batsmen were neither pulling the short pitch ball nor they were leaving it. I had never witnessed such poor strategy against fast bowlers. It also indicates that other teams have noticed the weaknesses of Pakistani batsmen and it will not stop with West Indies match. The head coach, batting and bowling coaches had no proper plan against the West Indies, that’s why they including captain should be held responsible for such a shocking loss,” he added.

Kamran said: “Shaoiab Malik and Asif Ali must be in the starting lineup, while if Sarfraz wants to have Hafeez, he should be promoted in the batting order. I suggest Pakistan should drop one spinner for today’s match against England and use either Hafeez or Malik as fifth bowler. Hafeez is capable enough of bowling full quota of overs, he is a match winner and can turn the tables with his magical deliveries while Malik is experienced and tailor-made for such difficult situations.”

He said that it is quite good that Muhammad Aamir has regained his form while it was Wahab Riaz’ first match after two years, so he will take some time to get into shape. Hassan Ali will improve his bowling while playing more matches.

“Although England are on a high, playing superb cricket and beating opponents comprehensively, yet it doesn’t mean they are untouchable. They are very much beatable and if Pakistani batsmen play aggressively and either leave short pitch deliveries or punish them with full force, Pakistan team is bound to beat any given opponent.

“Asif Ali holds the key for Pakistan batting so he should be kept for power hitting. If he could stay at the wicket for a few overs, the things would completely change. He is a good puller of the short pitch deliveries as he is fearless, which will help him and the team a great deal. Pakistan team can bounce back and beat England if they play according to situation and with proper game plan,” Kamran concluded.