Pakistan manager lays into Afridi in tour reportSport
Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam has termed Shahid Afridi a ‘clueless’ captain in the wake of the team’s early exit from the ICC World Twent20.
In his tour report published by Cricinfo, Alam laid heavy criticism on the T20 skipper Afridi for his poor on-field tactics and off-field behavior that brought undue controversies on the team.
Pakistan were knocked out of the World T20 after losing three of its four group matches, including a loss to rival India.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis offered to step down while apologising to the nation on his return home.
Alam, who was the manager of the team when Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup, questioned the mental alertness of the Pakistan players at the World T20 and said players also lacked physical fitness.
Pakistan’s middle-order batsman Umar Akmal also came under fire for seeking the legendary Imran Khan's intervention to elevate his batting position.
“Much to our chagrin was a captain in his farewell event after a career spanning nearly 20 years, yet absolutely clueless in terms of on-field tactics and off-field leadership,” Alam said in his evaluation report, which was once against made public before the fact-finding committee could give its verdict.
“We were also set back by two absolutely needless controversies, the first emanating from Afridi's 'more-loved-in-India-than-in-Pakistan' statement in his mandatory on-arrival press conference and Umar Akmal again stealing the limelight in an unseemly manner by seeking Imran Khan's intervention to fix his batting position at three, when he had done little to inspire confidence at number 4.”
Alam’s report laid a great emphasis on the events that unfolded in Kolkata prior to the marquee contest against India and questioned Afridi’s move up the order.
“Hafeez was not sent in at number three while Sarfraz too did not get a meaningful strike. These two were our best bets, as they were our prime exponents against spin. The Indian spin attack was not challenged at all by our batting, save Shoaib Malik near the closing stages, resulting in a total that was 20 runs short of the average on the Eden Garden turf.”
Moreover, the team manager criticised the field placements that Pakistan skipper put in to defend the paltry 118 in the 18-over-a-side match against the hosts.
“I also felt if proper field placing was placed for Shoaib Malik in his initial over may have given us a breakthrough; it was very surprising to see in a low-scoring game there was no attacking field-placing. There was no slip; had he employed a slip cordon for Malik, we may have had Yuvraj as two chances from his blade went through.”
Alam's assessment spices up the already tense atmosphere after the Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis’ report was leaked two days ago.
Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board had set up a ‘fact-finding’ committee that includes Pakistan’s modern greats, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, to analyse the team’s poor run of late.