KARACHI: Pakistan’s former players on Monday criticised national team’s defensive approach which led them to defeat in the first Test against Sri Lanka.
Former captain Hanif Mohammad felt Pakistan batsmen batted defensively instead of playing professionally according to the situation.
“Our batsmen need to go back to the drawing board and do some soul-searching. They are playing Test cricket not club cricket,” he said.
Another former skipper Wasim Bari said that defensive approach and lack of planning on the final day were the main causes of Pakistan’s defeat.
“Our batsmen take too much pressure by playing dot balls and losing wickets regularly,” he said.
“I think Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad put the team under pressure by adopting highly cautious approach,” he commented.
“Our batsmen were inclined to blocking the ball instead of taking singles and doubles,” he pointed out.
“Had the team management guided the team properly, it would have batted with better scoring rate and things would have been totally different,” he said.
Legendary batsman Javed Miandad said inconsistent performance of the national team led to the loss in the first Test.
The 124-Test veteran said he had earlier pointed out that only consistent performance can lead Pakistan to victory over Sri Lanka.
“We have always lacked consistency and it is the only thing which can help tackle any opponent,” he said.
Miandad further said the pitch was best for spinners and Misbah should have used Ajmal and Rehman to get wickets instead of trying to slow things down.
Another former captain Rameez Raja said Pakistani batsmen batted with a negative mindset.
“They should have been more positive. Sri Lanka pushed for a win and they got it with their brave declaration,” he said.
Rameez said it is rare for Pakistan to score 450 runs in the first innings and then lose a Test.
“It was disappointing to see Pakistan lose a Test which was heading for a draw and after scoring 451,” former wicket-keeper Rashid Latif said.
Rashid said neither Abdur Rehman nor Saeed Ajmal had lived up to expectations.
“Considering Pakistan’s batting frailties, Ajmal and Rehman didn’t bowl well (to compensate) and that was the cause of the defeat,” said Rashid, adding the defeat did not augur well for Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy.
“I can see Shahid Afridi as captain in the 2015 World Cup if Pakistan lose the Test and one-day series in Sri Lanka,” said Rashid.
He criticised Pakistan’s policy of employing too many coaches.
“No matter how many coaches you bring, it cannot improve. All the coaches are job seekers,” said Rashid, singling out spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed.
Another former player, Mohammad Yousuf, criticised the team’s go-slow batting which allowed the Sri Lankan spinners to attack.
“I did not expect such a batting capitulation but it all boils down to the defensive strategy of the captain and that has let the team down,” said Yousuf.
Yousuf asked Misbah to change his batting position in One-day Internationals.
He said Pakistan need to do well in the next World Cup and for that Misbah has to change his batting position and lead the team by example.
He added that Misbah should bat at number three in ODIs because his batting style will help the team.
Yousuf emphasised that Pakistan team management needed to bring consistency and stability to the batting order before the World Cup.