ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Khan Gandapur lashes out at Pakistan cricket team for showing pathetic and disrespectful performances in the ICC World Cup 2019 and demanded stern action against the responsible ones.

In an interview with The Nation, Gandapur said: “I know sometimes things are not getting in your favour and it is not necessary, Pakistan team always win matches, but the way entire cricket team led down the cricket-mad masses and the way they were underperforming, it is by no means acceptable to Pakistanis nor to Prime Minister. I am sure PM Imran Khan will take stern action against all those, who have inflicted huge damages on national cause.

“Cricket is a bidding force and because of it, the entire nation gets right behind the green caps. They pray for Pakistan team’s success and trust me, now after losing key matches; I can feel the mood and anguish on the faces of the people and even I am highly down due to such consecutive pathetic performances of national team,” he added.

Gandapur said: “The Prime Minister is highly busy in streamlining the country’s economy and addressing national issues. I am sure he hasn’t witnessed all the matches of Pakistan team, but like everyone knows, Imran Khan is a god father of cricket and he is not going to tolerate and will punish all those, who are responsible for the debacle.

“I request the PM to take stern action, put these failures behind the bars and also order an inquiry against all those, who selected these below par players. When the PM and all the cricketing greats have asked Sarfraz Ahmed to bat first after winning the toss, then what was the reason behind such a coward decision to bowl first,” he asserted.

The Minister said that people have huge expectations from the national team and they should have played like lions and leave the rest. Had they played positive cricket and lost matches, no one could have raised fingers at them. But after being paid so heavily along with an army of international coaches, who flopped so miserably, no one is ready to spare them and demanding strict action against them.

“Look at Bangladesh team, how well they get out of West Indian bowlers, while Pakistan team was bundled out for 105 runs only. The green caps also looked completely off colour against the Indians, as all the batsmen played irresponsible shots and simply gifted their wickets to Indian bowlers. I am a sportsman and played squash, cricket and tent pegging, so I know how to achieve small targets first and then keep on excelling.

He said: “I am hugely disappointed to see an army of PCB officials enjoying joy-rides and wasting national exchequer with both hands. We are on austerity drive, as country is facing serious financial crisis, but look at the PCB, who are playing with tax-payers money and they think they are beyond accountability. If we parliamentarians are answerable to the masses, then why PCB think they are untouchables? They have to face the music,” he added.

“I have earned a place in Pakistani parliamentarians’ team after the trails. I could have used my position and get selected but we fought for places. We are spending entire expenditures required to play in England and taking not a single penny from government or PCB. We will also pay for those team members, who can’t afford. When we will be playing in the parliamentarians’ world cup, we will play fearless cricket if we face India in the semifinals or final, we will show them how to play cricket,” Gandapur concluded.