Pakistan’s former captain Shahid Afridi criticized senior batsmen for showing lack of responsibility after Pakistan squeezed into the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi final.
Shahid Afridi showed his disappointment on the performance of Pakistan’s senior pros like Shoaib Malik, Mohammad and Azhar Ali, he wrote that one of them should have steered Pakistan over the line.
“One of them needed to carry the burden today and take the team past the victory target. Unfortunately both fell in quick succession while Azhar Ali also failed to make use of a fine start, which put the lower-order under enormous stress,” Afridi wrote in the column.
He told that the experienced duo of Malik and Hafeez should have made Pakistan’s chase easier with the loads of experience they have.
“The fact is that the senior batsmen disappointed again at the big stage. Players like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have abundance of experience and both have represented Pakistan for a very long time,” he added.
He also praised Sarfraz Ahmed for absorbing pressure, but also mentioned the lucky lives he got.
“Sarfraz handled the pressure magnificently although he was incredibly lucky with two dropped chances – especially the one put down by Thisara Perera off Lasith Malinga which broke the Sri Lankan spirit,” he further stated.
Shahid Afridi is expecting a better show from both the senior players, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez in the semi-final against England that is to play on Wednesday.
“I really hope that Malik and Hafeez come good in the semi-final since the team would be pinning its hopes on them, especially against a top-class England unit, which unlike Sri Lanka, isn’t expected to give Pakistan chances of coming back in the game,” he wrote.
He also sing hailed Fakhar Zaman’s fearless inning and advised seniors to adopt a similar approach against a much stronger English side.
“The semi-final against a confident and in-form England side is going to be an uphill battle for Pakistan, especially if the batting doesn’t fire. I really hope that the seniors can take a leaf out of Fakhar’s book and play with a free mind.
“Fakhar has been a revelation and once again played with an uncluttered mind. I feel that he has to work hard against the short ball since teams with a strong pace battery are likely to exploit his weakness against the rising ball.”
He urged management to handle the young left-handed opening batsman carefully and give him confidence so that he can play his natural game.