Pakistan needs better planning, teamwork ahead

ISLAMABAD   –   Test-discard wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal has said that the prayers of nations and immature captaincy by Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib kept Pakistan hopes alive in the ICC World Cup 2019, as green caps edged minnows Afghanistan in a thriller.

Talking to The Nation, Kamran said: “Gulbadin simply missed the trick as his spinners Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were bowling exceptionally and almost took Afghans at the brink, but reasons best known to the Afghan skipper, he replaced them and brought in himself to bowl. The move badly failed and gifted Pakistan victory.

“Afghanistan snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Their poor fielding, drop catches and inexperienced approach cost them the match, otherwise they were on course for a historic victory, first against Indians and last night against Pakistan,” he added.

He said after getting three wickets, Pakistan should have attacked Afghans for stopping them to play complete 50 overs, as run-rate might come into account any moment. “Pakistan missed it against the Kiwis, where they could have won at least 5 overs before, if not 8 to 10 overs, but some sloppy running between the wickets took the match into last over and same happened against Afghanistan.

“Fortune is playing crucial role in keeping Pakistan hopes alive in the world cup. If we look at the team’s performances, it can be easily claimed that they don’t deserve to win matches. Despite making a lot of mistakes, luck has been favouring them time and gain. But how long they will rely on luck, instead every individual should play sensibly and play his significant role in the team’s triumphs,” he added.

He said: “If Afghan skipper utilised his options accordingly, Pakistan would have bowled out much earlier. It was worst decision to replace Rashid and Mujeeb and Nabi, when they were bowling exceptionally and taking wickets. Irresponsible strokes and needless run out could also cost Pakistan team dearly if Imad didn’t play a match-winning knock. Imad also remained lucky to first survive LBW call and then a simple catch was dropped by Asghar, which was turning point of the match.

“I must give credit to brace Wahab Riaz, who had fractured finger and was unable to hold the bat conformably, but he played one of the best knocks of his life and hit Afghan bowlers out of the park and showed other batsmen how to play against top guns,” he asserted.

The cricketer said Sarfraz needs to understand the importance of not allowing weak opponents chances to score big runs on the board. Pakistani top order needs to play sensibly and provide the team depth, which is badly missing. For how long one or two batsmen will help the team win matches and why not team management is paying heed towards ensuring the players to perform.

“Pakistani bowling was known for getting wickets, but now after taking 4 or 5 wickets, they still allow teams to score big totals, which is disastrous and can dent Pakistan team’s chances of winning major tournaments or even bilateral series. They have to overcome their mistakes quickly, if they really want to dominate world cricket,” Kamran concluded.

Sharing his views, Chaudhry Ajmal Sabir, Islamabad Region Manager in 2005, renowned cricket promoter and father of young star Ali Imran, said: “I detected Imad in 2005, when I was manager of Islamabad team, which played against Karachi Region U-19, where the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed were playing. Imad scored 63 runs and grabbed 6 wickets in the match. I was sure he is future of Pakistan cricket and he proved it.”

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