Karachi: Former Pakistan players have come down heavily on skipper Shahid Afridi after the team’s embarrassing defeat in the first one-dayer against New Zealand in Wellington.
The series holds significance as it precedes next month’s World Cup in the sub-continent and, if sources are to be believed, a group of former players are not too keen on Afridi leading the side in the mega event.
Afridi’s post-match comments on Shoaib Akhtar and the batsmen left some of the former players like Aamir Sohail, Abdul Qadir and Zaheer Abbas surprised.
“How can a captain demand of his players to perform when he himself is not performing well,” Qadir, a former chief selector, said.
“Afridi himself got out to a totally irresponsible shot and, before criticising others, he needs to first assess his own performances. I don’t think players would like his critical remarks after the match,” he said.
Sohail said the big defeat was a setback ahead of the World Cup.
“It is not the ideal preparation for such a major event and the team management needs to rethink its strategy and have a talk with the players,” the former captain said.
Abbas, however, felt it’s still early days in the series and a comeback cannot be ruled out.
“It is too premature to rule them out. There are five matches left and I think we have a strong one-day side that can win the series,” he said.
One of the most elegant batsmen of his time, Abbas though agreed that the players, particularly Afridi, needed to show more responsibility.
“They must learn to adapt and adjust to all conditions; a seaming pitch is no excuse for such a shambolic batting display against a weak bowling attack,” Abbas said.
Former opener Nazar said that he was concerned with the body language of the players in the first match.
“I don’t know but I got a feeling the heads were down and the enthusiasm was missing from the team.”
“Perhaps the board has also added to the uncertainty in the team by holding back on announcing a captain for the World Cup. All other teams have done it, why can’t we do it in a proper manner,” Nazar said.
Nawaz called for better display from senior players Afridi and Abdul Razzaq.
“Kamran (Akmal) got out in frustration while Afridi and Razzaq didn’t apply themselves which is not acceptable. Afridi is the captain and must lead by example. He can’t keep getting out in irresponsible manner,” Sarfaraz said.
According to sources, the board is also not too happy with Waqar Younis’s recent statements on captaincy, and is awaiting a reply from the former pacer on the notice sent to him.