New Delhi: Former Pakistan cricketers lashed out at the team for lack of planning and strategy after it went down to arch-rivals India by 76 runs in its cricket World Cup opening match at the Adelaide Oval. Batting great Zaheer Abbas pointed out that Pakistan committed too many mistakes on the field and also while selecting the team and felt that the players were not trying to learn from their previous blunders.
"Pakistan committed too many mistakes. Younis Khan should not have been sent as an opener and they should not have dropped Sarfraz Ahmed and made Umar Akmal keep wickets," he said. "There was no proper planning. We made so many mistakes. Our captain did blunders. Sending Younis to open the innings was a big blunder and using Umar as a wicketkeeper was another. Moreover, we dropped so many catches.
"Last World also we dropped so many catches. When do we learn?," asked Abbas during a panel discussion in a leading English news channel. They are playing cricket throughout the year, what is stopping them from learning," he added. Abbas also felt that Pakistani batsmen did not do their job well.
"Pakistani batsmen couldn't score. Under pressure, they simply played bad shots," he insisted.
Spin great Saqlain Mushtaq said Pakistan team lacked genuine openers and a wicketkeeper. "Our strategy was not right. Although I agree that sending Younis Khan as an opener was country's requirement but we surely lack a genuine opener and a genuine wicket-keeper," said Saqlain. Meanwhile, another former Pakistan cricketer Mohsin Khan came down heavily on the country's Cricket Board, saying that the management is responsible for team's dismal showing.
"Because of lack of sincerity in our nation's cricket board, we are suffering today. The team management is a total failure and it is also destroying the team. So many changes time again at the administrative level is hampering the team," he stressed. "India today played professional cricket and look at the way we performed," Mohsin, who has been a chief selector in the past, said.
Former India captain Krishnamachari Srikanth, however, gave full marks to India for posting a comprehensive victory. "We have registered a convincing and outstanding win. I congratulate our team on a fabulous victory," said Srikanth.
Comparing the two sides, Srikanth said the difference was in approach. "India's intention was very positive, whereas Pakistan had no intent...Nothing at all. They didn't stick to their plan. It was poor planning, poor captaincy. There was nothing positive in their approach," felt Srikanth. He also believed that there was no effort from Pakistani batsmen to disrupt Indian bowlers' rhythm.
"Pakistan batsmen never tried to disrupt the rhythm of the Indian bowlers. R Ashwin gave two maiden overs and they completely choked. Pakistan did not take calculated risk while batting. "On the other hand, India were well prepared. For example, Kohli applied himself. He was prepared for (Mohammad) Irfan's bowling. In fact, Indian batsmen never took any risk. It seemed as if they played so easy," explained Srikanth.
To questions raised by the other panellists that Kohli was dropped twice before he reached his 22nd ODI century, Srikanth said, "Luck is part and parcel of cricket."
Former South African cricketer Jhonty Rhodes, who himself had featured in four World Cups, said it is a "billion dollar" question as to why Pakistan cannot beat India in World Cup matches. "We (South Africa) have never reached the final ... It's not a single factor. Why Pakistan is not able to beat India is a billion dollar question," he said.
India maintained their magnificent record against Pakistan by winning the sixth consecutive World Cup game since the rivalry started way back in 1992.