Islamabad: Cricket legends Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq voiced their disappointment over Pakistan’s recent loss to Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup. Akram emphasized the critical role of fitness in fielding performance and advocated for regular fitness assessments. He also hinted at potential dietary concerns among some players.
Akram remarked, “To reach 280-odd losing just two wickets is pretty big. Wet pitch or no, look at the fielding, the fitness levels. We’ve been screaming for the last three weeks that these players haven’t undergone a fitness test in the last two years. If I start taking individual names, their faces will drop.”
He further stressed the need for clear fitness criteria, recalling its effective implementation during Misbah-ul-Haq’s coaching tenure. “Professionally you guys are getting paid, playing for your country. There has to be a certain criteria. Misbah, when he was coach, had that criteria. Players hated him but it worked. Fielding is all about fitness and that’s where we are lacking.”
Misbah-ul-Haq raised concerns over Babar Azam’s captaincy, pinpointing its impact on Haris Rauf’s confidence during powerplay overs. He suggested a tactical adjustment to bolster Rauf’s performance, citing examples from other successful teams.
“We can see that whenever Haris Rauf is given the ball to bowl in the powerplay, he is struggling. It would have been good for Haris’s confidence if the captain would have given the ball after the powerplay, when there are four fielders in the deep. Then he can bowl his bouncers.”
Former Skipper Shoaib Malik echoed these sentiments and drew attention to challenges in the spin department. He called for a more innovative approach from the captain in utilizing the available resources.
“Our spin department is also struggling. Our captain doesn’t think out of the box. Saud Shakeel is there, he can bowl you don’t give him the ball,” he said.
The cricketing community awaits the team’s response and hopes for a revitalized performance in the upcoming matches.