KARACHI: Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said that the performance in three-day match ahead of the Test series against West Indies should be a wake-up call for Pakistan cricket team and they must learn from it. Talking to Geo.tv on Tuesday, the Rawalpindi Express also questioned team’s selection by terming it “confusing”.
“I agree that Pakistan will be playing Test matches after a long gap, after Australia series, but there shouldn’t be any excuses by professional players. Three-day game’s performance should be a wakeup call for Pakistan ahead of the Test series, I hope they will learn and improve from here,” Shoaib told Geo.tv. “With players like Misbah and Younis in middle, you shouldn’t be struggling there. Team combination shouldn’t be panicked,” he added. The former fast bowler said that Pakistan Cricket Board should utilise the experience of Younis Khan, even after his retirement. According to Shoaib, Younis was built to work for cricket.
“Younis Khan, with 34 Test centuries, is your real star. He’s built to work for cricket and PCB should utilise his experience even after his retirement,” he said. “Misbah and Younis should end careers on a high note; I would love to see them score double centuries in the last series. PCB should recognise their services. I wish both of them best of luck, you have then a lot of good,” said Shoaib, who retired from cricket in 2011. Shoaib also questioned team’s coach Mickey Arthur’s approach, saying that the coach should get his acts together.
“Coach shouldn’t be giving statement against players in public, you have to drop him, then drop him, but don’t give statements,” he said when this correspondent asked him about team’s head coach’s statement on the fast bowler. While agreeing with Mickey’s observation on Sohail’s ability in Test cricket, Shoaib Akhtar said that if Sohail gets exhausted by the third spell, then the team should utilise his bowling abilities in the shorter format of the game. Shoaib added that Sohail Khan was not treated fairly by the selectors.
“Why don’t you play him in limited overs? He’s very good with the new ball, but you’ve sidelined him from ODIS, he performed well in PSL as well, that’s why I said selection looked a bit confusing. Sohail isn’t treated fairly and on top of that, you give statements to demoralise him,” he said. The express fast bowler said that Sarfaraz Ahmed should be empowered as team’s captain as he is the one who will take the team forward. He added that Sarfaraz, Mickey Arthur and Inzamamul Haq should sit together and discuss a year’s plan and pick players according to roles. Replying to a question, Akhtar lambasted team management for ruing over not having power hitters after dropping Umar Akmal.
“Why they didn’t take power hitters? Why didn't they take Umar Akmal with team when he was available? He was unfit the other day, and the next day he’s fit. Things seems a lot confused,” said Shoaib. It is easier to say that we don’t have power hitters,” he said. “We demand performance from Mickey Arthur. He must get us big wins. He has been there for a long time now,” the former bowler said. The veteran of 46 Tests and 163 ODIs said that Hassan Ali is talented bowler, but he needs to perform at bigger level, only then he’ll consider him as a good bowler.
“Hassan must win Test matches for Pakistan, must take two/three five-fers in longer format then I will accept him as a good bowler. You can’t term anyone a big prospect on performance of a couple of ODIs. “But, he has showcased himself as a possible replacement for Mohammad Aaamir. While Aamir hasn’t been able to perform according to expectations, Hassan is delivering things which aren't even demanded from him, so it’s a good sign,” said the former pacer.
Tour match performance a wake-up call: Shoaib Akhtar