Younis laments decline of Pakistan after World T20 exit

WEB DESK: Coach Waqar Younis on Friday lamented the decline of Pakistan cricket after his team were knocked out of the World Twenty20 with a disappointing 21-run defeat against Australia.

A wayward Pakistan let Australia off the hook after having them in early trouble at 57-3 in the must-win group tie at Mohali.

The Aussies were quick to capitalise on some shoddy bowling and fielding, posting a commanding 193-4 before restricting Shahid Afridi’s men to 172-8.

The early ouster of the 2009 champions from the tournament has put skipper Afridi as well as Younis under pressure, with both likely to lose their jobs sooner than later.

Younis, a dreaded fast bowler in his playing days, did not mince his words as he called for an overhaul back home.

“We have just lost the match and whatever I say will look like an excuse,” Younis, 44, said at a post-match press conference.

“If we think deeply we will see that Pakistan hasn’t seen any international cricket for last seven-eight years and that has hurt us.

“And that has started showing now. Earlier we had match winners like Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez who could bowl.

“Yes, I would say that Pakistan cricket is in a bit of a decline and we need to control it. We will have to look at our domestic cricket and infrastructure.”

Pakistan finished their campaign with three defeats from four outings, including a loss at the hands of arch foes India in Kolkata.

Their preparations were not helped by their late departure in a row over security and Pakistan have not been able to play a major cricket nation since a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.

There were flashes of individual brilliance from players like Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Amir during the tournament in India but the team failed to fire as a unit, prompting speculation of a rift in the dressing room.

Younis was quick to dismiss such talk, insisting all was well with his team. ”I don’t think there is any truth in these talks,” he said.

“Even I am a bit surprised and disappointed that such rumours are being spread. We are not playing good cricket and that’s the bottom line. And as a result of this we have to face all this.”

On his own job being on the line, Younis said he would call on the Pakistan Cricket Board chief soon “and see what needs to be done.”

Former Pakistani greats lament exit

Former Pakistani players said the country’s national cricket squad could not be worse after Australia pushed it out of World T20.

“They have lagged behind so much that they do not stand a chance anymore,” former Pakistani skipper Rameez Raja said.

“They do not have the quality, they do not have any gems. You have to sack six or seven of them and bring in new players and they will take three to four years to perform,” Raja said just after the match.

Raja said that the entire cricket system had to changed and decisions should be taken for cricket, not individuals.

Sikandar Bakht, former paceman called for cancelling contracts of all players and an in depth performance review.

“PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) should cancel the central contracts of all players and hold a detailed review of players performance,” Bakht said.

“A line has to be drawn now. I feel that even if you send in the under-19 cricket team, they would perform better than them.”

Mohammad Yousaf, Pakistan’s former test batsman, urged the PCB, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former cricket greats, media and cricket fans to come together and get Pakistan out of its misery.

“Now PCB and the Prime Minister have to think about how they can save the cricket team. It is already too late. We have to fix it and urge the media and the nation to play a role in it,” Yousaf said.

“We should improve our first class cricket, because only it will produce good players who will be able to give performance,” he added.