Nevertheless, there is no significant reason to lose faith, Alonso said, "as our game remains robust.
Pakistan’s narrow 2-run loss by DLS against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Super Four stage game, which was deemed as a virtual semifinal clash on Thursday, have met with harsh criticism from the country’s former cricketers, who went on question Babar Azam’s poor captaincy, timid approach and surprising team selection.
As a result of the loss, Pakistan bowed out of the Asia Cup, making way for Sri Lanka to set their date against seven-time champions India for Sunday’s final at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Slamming the team’s approach, former skipper and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja said the loss against India in the Super Four game dented the Men-in-Green psychologically, and they are yet to get over that.
“The massive defeat against India has given a psychological dent to Pakistan. They seemed to carry that loss in this match as well. They looked timid and scared and failed to close out the game. Babar Azam and the top order looked over-cautious. They lacked authority,” Ramiz was quoted as saying on his YouTube channel.
He also questioned the selection of out-of-form Fakhar Zaman and Babar’s captaincy.
“Fakhar Zaman is a walking wicket nowadays. His body language is shocking. I think Fakhar should himself refuse to play. On a slower track, Babar has struggled, barring one or two innings. He needs to step up as captain as well. He should take authoritative decisions,” he said.
The former skipper also cited his teammate Inzamam-ul-Haq’s example when the Pakistan batting great scored 60 in the 1992 World Cup semi final despite being down with a stomach bug. Raza’s context here was for Inzamam’s nephew Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel, who did not turn up on Thursday due to back spasm and fever, but felt that the cricketers should have taken chances.
“In the morning of the match, Inzi refused to play in the semifinals. He couldn’t sleep. He was having a stomach issue. He was forced to play and was told there is no other option. He turned up and played a gem of a knock. Half-fit players should take risks if they want to become great players,” he said.
Raza’s views were echoed by several other Pakistan stars, including Shoaib Akhtar, who termed the loss against the Islanders as “embarrassing” while urging the team management to get their house in order in the run-up to the ICC World Cup, starting in India on October 5.
“This is a very embarrassing defeat. I am really disappointed. It does not look nice. Failure of Pakistan’s pace battery, openers form, middle order muddle, spinners leaking runs, there are one too many puzzles to solve for the team management ahead of the World Cup,” Akhtar suggested.
“Pakistan deserved to be in the final. They were favourites. Unfortunately, there won’t be an India vs Pakistan final in the Asia Cup. Credit goes to Sri Lanka they kept their nerves intact in the crunch situation. There is no depth in our middle order. We don’t have a quality spinner,” he added.
“Captaincy needs to sharpen up. Get you final XI sorted. I am sure Pakistan have a great chance in India. They need to think over what has gone wrong in the Asia Cup,” Akhtar added.
Pakistan’s ploy of shuffling their batting order with in-form batter Iftikhar Ahmed being demoted against Sri Lanka was questioned by former wicketkeepers Rashid Latif and Kamran Akmal.
“(Mohammed) Nawaz and (Mohammed) Haris are not even regulars, and they were sent ahead of Iftikhar. How could they bat ahead of Ifitkhar?,” said Latif on his YouTube channel.
Echoing Latif’s views, Akmal said, “It was a poor decision. What was the point of sending Nawaz ahead of Iftikhar? Ye kaun si decision hai, mere samajh ke bahar hai (What is this decision I am unable to understand).”
The former stumper also lashed out at Pakistan’s bowling that lacked the sting in the absence of injured duo of Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.
“The same Sri Lanka team failed to chase down the total of 213 runs against India. 252 was a big total and we failed to defend it. This is an embarrassing defeat. Pakistan not playing the final is a worrying sign,” Akmal said.