Lahore: Pakistan`s former World Cup winning captain Imran Khan has said that the national team`s faulty batting order led to its ouster in the semi-final against India in the recently-concluded Cricket World Cup.
"I kept on saying that you need to send your best batsmen at the top so that they can save wickets. When you preserve your wickets the pressure transfers to the fielding side and if you have couple of hard hitters in the team you can always score quick runs in the final overs," said Imran.
"We did that in the 1987 and 1992 World Cup knockout matches," he added.
Admitting that the recent defeat to India in the World Cup semi-final in Mohali still hurts and is hard to accept, the cricketer-turned-politician said the Pakistani team crumbled under pressure.
"To tell you the truth even now the defeat hurts because our team crumbled under pressure," Imran said on the sidelines of a function to honour Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar, who stood in the World Cup final.
Dar enjoy an unique record of not having any of his decisions overturned through the Umpires Decision Review system and Imran feels that the umpire has set a great example of how to perform under pressure.
The former captain, who presented a gold crown to Dar, said that if the Pakistan team had also withstood the pressure of the semi-final as the umpire had done in the World Cup, it would have won the semi-final against India.
"What disappoints me is that this team overall performed very well and reached the semi-finals when no one expected it to go this far.”
"But once they had got into the semi-final and knew it was going to be a high pressure match against India, the players should have been ready for the situation. Unfortunately they buckled under the pressure," said Imran.
The 58-year-old, who was in India for the semi-final, noted that he was also disappointed because India were under greater pressure because of the home crowd and their title favorites tag.
"When India batted you could see they were under pressure and except for Virender Sehwag who batted without any care in the world, all the other batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar were under pressure," Imran said.
He also added that the pressure factor was so great that even a world class performer like Tendulkar had given at least four chances.
"India were under pressure and appeared set for a defeat but when our turn came to bat our batsmen just didn`t absorb the pressure well. The batting collapsed badly."
Imran noted that once wickets started to fall the pressure became greater on the incoming batsmen and it was difficult for them to perform.
"There were also tactical mistakes made in the match but we had a golden opportunity to win that game."
Stating that India`s success in the World Cup was mainly because Mahendra Singh Dhoni lead the team in all three formats of the game and is able to adapt to pressure situations in every format, Imran suggested that Pakistan should also have one captain for all three formats.
"I would suggest that Shahid Afridi lead the team in all three formats," he said.