Babar Azam. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)
Former Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik has come down hard on Babar Azam and Co. after they crashed out of the 2023 ODI World Cup with a 93-run thrashing against England on November 11.
Pakistan did not have their fate in their hands after a string of four losses following two wins at the start of the group stage in the tournament. However, a few favourable results combined with their victories over Bangladesh and New Zealand meant they were in the semi-final reckoning even until their final fixture, albeit relying on a miraculous and unrealistic mathematic equation.
Eventually, it did not come down to any of that, with Pakistan succumbing to another disappointing defeat as both the teams bowed out of the tournament in contrasting styles. For Pakistan, the World Cup performance raised questions aplenty, more so after being the No. 1 ODI team not too long ago. However, their on-field performances were far from that, with the team finishing at the bottom of the Asia Cup Super Four points table before a group-stage exit in the World Cup.
Professionalism is missing in Pakistan team: Shoaib Malik
“Travelling are excuses. The whole world is travelling. Look at India’s calendar. Their pacers didn’t lost pace and swing. It is the professionalism, which is missing in our team. You ask half of them and they would not know how to recover. In the recent past, we didn’t had any ingredient, which can help you to get rid of cramps (sic). We saw that in case of Maxwell, they gave him some gels and he played with severe cramps. It is all excuses. Travelling doesn’t matter,” Malik told A Sports.
“You pick players after one match performance in the PSL. When you go to the crunch situation, your nerves will be tightened and then it will be followed by the cramps. It is not that only because of dehydration you get those cramps, it comes because of pressure as well,” he said.
Malik also urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to send second-string squads for series where their opponents adopt that route. “They should make a rule that if the travelling team has sent their B squad, make sure that our B players are facing them for the sake of their development,” he said.
He was also critical of Babar Azam’s leadership abilities, stating that Pakistan failed to challenge the stronger teams and defeated only the lower-ranked ones. “Lack of resources. No street smartness from the captain. We have only won against small teams. He [Babar] is captain for the past three years and there is no improvement,” he said.
Malik co-panellist and a former captain and coach himself, Misbah-ul-Haq stated that Pakistan “should not live in that delusion” of being the No. 1 team, advising the team and management to “see where we are lacking”.
“Realistically, we have not played against the tough teams. We were also happy but deep down as a player you should know why we became No 1. It is not our fault that we have got such oppositions, but still, we should not live in that delusion. We must see where we are lacking,” he said.