Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar slammed the country’s cricket board and the current men’s senior team after they lost the third One-Day International against England on Tuesday to suffer a clean sweep in the series.
James Vince hit a first ODI century and Lewis Gregory made 77 as a new-look England beat Pakistan by three wickets at Edgbaston on Tuesday to complete a remarkable 3-0 series clean sweep.
“It’s a shameful performance. Our board is average. It brings average people, the management is average so obviously, they are going to build an average team. You can’t expect extraordinary things from average people. It’s wrong for you to expect,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
“Crowd are coming to the ground but after watching such performances, the fan-following will never grow. There is no star to inspire the youngsters. Then how can you bring the next Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi or Wasim Akram? You have to a build brand,” he added.
Set a challenging 332 to win, 50-over world champions England, without most of their first-choice players because of a pre-series Covid outbreak, were faltering at 165/5. But a stand of 129 between Vince, who made 102, and Gregory turned the tide.
Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf removed both batsmen in quick succession on his way to 4/65. But England, to the delight of most of a sun-drenched crowd of 19,500, won with two overs to spare when Brydon Carse, who had earlier taken five wickets, drove Shaheen Shah Afridi for four.
“Why is this England team doing so much better than us? Our mindset after we lose a couple of wickets is to bat steadily, build partnerships and then only try and attack in the last 10 overs. This is 70s cricket. We are stuck in the 70s. England say even if we are bowled out in 40 overs we will make sure we get 300. Every England batsman that walked in kept the scoreboard moving and it was not mindless slogging. It was methodical hitting, there was rotation of strike. But we are playing 70s cricket because our mindset is like that, we don’t want to improve,” said Akhtar.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam had returned to form with a superb ODI best 158 during the tourists’ 331/9.
Together with Mohammad Rizwan (74) he shared a partnership of 179 – the highest for any Pakistan wicket against England in an ODI – after opener Imam-ul-Haq had made 56.
But from 292/2, Pakistan, significantly, lost seven wickets for 37 runs. Fast bowler Carse checked Pakistan’s progress with 5/61, his first five-wicket haul at this level.
“Pakistan cricket is in a serious situation. They are in treacherous waters. It’s a very hopeless situation for PCB and Pakistan. I don’t know what the authorities are thinking but it’s a very hopeless situation. I’m not saying because I need a job but I’m saying this because I’m hurt. I played this game for my country. I ran in and I made sure people get value for their money. And they did that. Unfortunately, I’m not getting value for money from this team. This is not defendable, this is unexpected. This must be looked into,” said Akhtar.
Meanwhile, a disappointed Azam said after the match: “We started well but we were sloppy in the field. We will learn from our mistakes and hopefully not repeat them,” he added ahead of a three-match T20 series against England.
Inputs from AFP