Former captain and PCB chief Ramiz Raja has urged Pakistan captain Babar Azam and team management to pick players on merit and reassess Fakhar Zaman’s form ahead of the team’s must-win Asia Cup game against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka on Thursday in a Super 4 match which will act as a virtual semifinal, since the winner will face India in the final on Sunday, September 17.
Following Pakistan’s heaviest loss to India in ODIs by 228 runs in the Asia Cup, Raja has come down hard on Babar’s team over their reluctance to drop the out-of-form Zaman.
Raja said, “Babar should not just follow a straight line and decide against making changes in the line-up. The team management and Babar need to realise their love affair with Fakhar is not beneficial for the team as he is not in form at all.” After scoring consecutive centuries against New Zealand earlier this year, Zaman has failed to score even a fifty in the last 10 ODIs.
Younis Khan criticised the team for its body language in the contest against India. “Their body language indicated they had accepted defeat from the start and they didn’t play well at all as a team,” Younis said.
“(Mohammad) Rizwan should bat where the team needs him (to), not where he wants to bat,” he added.
Shahid Afridi said left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi looked frustrated for not getting early breakthroughs.
“What is (being) seen is that against India when he (Shaheen) didn’t get a early breakthrough he got frustrated and angry at himself,” he said.
“He always does this when he can’t get early wickets. The thing is that in international cricket his main focus should be on line and length when they are in right spot the wickets will come automatically.” Afridi said.
“He has a lot of cricket ahead of him and he has to plan out his career properly,” he added.
The former cricketer said Pakistan’s approach against India was wrong. “You win or lose, that is not a problem but it is your approach which everyone watches closely. Pakistan’s approach was all wrong,” he said.
Moin Khan urged Pakistan to move on quickly from the 228-run thrashing and be ready to settle scores with India, provided they make the final.
“This would mean another chance in the final to settle the score line with India, so we have to give our best against Sri Lanka which is a dangerous side despite missing their main bowlers,” Moeen said.
Former opener and chief selector Mohsin Khan said toss would be crucial against Sri Lanka.
“With rain forecast for the match, the right decision has to be made at the toss. I would go for a bat second so that you know what the situation is and what target you are chasing to get into the final,” Mohsin said.