ISLAMABAD    -   Former Pakistan cricket team captain Shahid Khan Afridi has said that all the participating nations in the World Cup were fully prepared for last three months or so, while Pakistan cricket team was not prepared till the last moment.

In an interview with The Nation, Afridi said: “All the teams had given chances to the players, who they had finalised for the World Cup. They worked on their fitness, batting, fielding and ensured no last moment issues. They had checked and given chances to all those players, who they wanted to take for the world cup. They all know the world cup comes after four years, so they wanted to give their best.

“When we were playing One-Day series against Australia in UAE, we had given rest to our six key players including skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. The selectors and PCB must have to pay heed towards such areas of high importance. The PCB should have ensured a set combination and give much-needed confidence to the players. Pakistan team failed to take advantage from the fact that they are the only team after hosts, who were in England well before start of the mega event and they had ample time to adjust and prepare a set combination,” he added.

Boom Boom said: “Look at Pakistan team, they kept on making major changes in the side prior to start of the World Cup. Both performers Muhammad Aamir and Wahab Riaz were out of the world cup squad. Wholesale changes in the squad never produced good results. The players, who were part of Pakistan One-Day team for England series were dropped and replaced. Such things, when world cup is round the corner, never help, rather create more complications. We should have been fully prepared and roaring to go but Pakistan team had to face the worst defeat in the very first match of the world cup at the hands of teams like West Indies, which dented the team’s chances in the world cup.

“The bad start then never let Pakistan team recover from the shock. Although it was highly humiliating loss, yet the team did produce over-the-moon result against England, who were hot favourites. While when the momentum was at Pakistan side, the rain spoiled all the good work done by the green caps against Sri Lanka. Had rain not washed out play, Pakistan could have qualified for the World Cup semifinals,” he added.

Afridi said that after losing the very first match, the team management should have realised the importance of maintaining healthy run-rate, but they failed to address the core issue and loss to Australia was another defining moment. Pakistan team was down and out while chasing a massive total but they recovered well and could have pose serious challenge to Aussies, but after coming close, they once again lost the momentum and were beaten comprehensively by the Kangroos.

“The the green shirts had golden chance against New Zealand to not only register victory, but also give huge boost to run-rate, but they failed to take advantage and won the match in the last over, despite having seven wickets in hand. Haris and Babar Azam could have finished off Kiwis with hefty overs to spare and the most shocking result was against Afghanistan, where Pakistan team looked off-coloured and almost gifted the match to the minnows. Pakistan should have win this match with at least 10 to 15 overs spare, but wickets fell like nine pins and it was master class performances by Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz, who saved the match for Pakistan,” he added.

He said that Pakistan played superb cricket in later stages. “Our fielding was pathetic throughout the World Cup while bowling and batting was sometimes average and sometimes below average. Only two batsmen managed to score runs and also helped Pakistan score victories. I think PCB has noticed those mistakes and things will change for the betterment of Pakistan cricket. I am on UK tour to promote my autobiography and the response I am getting here is beyond words,” Afridi concluded.