Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis has taken a strong dig at his country’s senior players saying they continued to play well past their prime, making the team suffer as a result. The 47-year-old asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to not to make compromises on fitness and form to avoid debacles like the Men in Green faced in the just concluded cricket World Cup. Pakistan had a poor start to the tournament with only one win in their first five games and even though they came back strongly, it was never enough to secure them a spot in the semi-finals.
Younis, who has 789 international wickets and led his country in the 2003 World Cup, said Pakistan’s squad had no definite shape till the last moment. He said the senior players tried to hang on to extend their careers and nobody told them to retire with grace. Pakistan made some key changes to their World Cup squad after losing the ODI series to England before the tournament and brought back experienced seamers like Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz in place of Faheem Ashraf and Junaid Khan, respectively.
Pakistan also picked two players in their late 30s – Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik – and although the former still made some runs, Malik was a disaster as he ended up with just eight runs in three games failing to score in two crucial games against Australia and India. He was not picked again for another match and retired after Pakistan ended their campaign beating Bangladesh at Lord’s on July 5.
Squad had no final shape till last moment
“Till the last moment, our World Cup squad was not final and clear. There is a big problem that senior players try to linger on in their careers and there is no one to tell them it is time for them to retire gracefully,” Waqar Younis said in an interview to the Daily Jang newspaper.
“For the last so many years, we see the same thing. At the last moment, seniors are brought in as the authorities are scared to lose in a big tournament,” he said, taking a clear dig at the calling back of Amir and Riaz in the last moment to bolster the bowling which had leaked 350-plus scores on an average in a match against England before the big tournament.
Younis was also not convinced with the fact that Pakistan won their last four games and missed a semi-final berth by a whisker. They finished with 11 points, as like New Zealand, but lost out because of an inferior net run-rate.
“The way we struggled to win against Afghanistan in the final over it should not be like that. Our biggest problem is we make compromises in selection on fitness issues, seniority, and other matters,” he further said. Younis was the head coach of Pakistan till 2016 when he was replaced with Mickey Arthur, the current coach. He said it was clear that the fitness standards of Pakistani players were way behind their counterparts in other sides in the tournament.
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