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September 24, 2009
Pakistan's struggle to beat West Indies in their Champions Trophy Group A match on Wednesday has led again to demands to drop senior batsmen from the limited-overs side. Former Pakistan players criticised the performance in Johannesburg as Pakistan made heavy weather of chasing down 134 against an under-strength West Indies team, losing five wickets on the way.
Pakistan's experienced trio of Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq fell cheaply, and it was the young Umar Akmal (41 not out) and captain Shahid Afridi (17) who guided them home in them 31st over.
"It's time the senior batsmen should say goodbye," former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja told the GEO Super channel. "It looked as if they don't have bats in their hands. They looked like novices while Akmal batted with much more maturity."
Yousuf, 35, has struggled in the one-day format since his back-to-back centuries against weaker opponents - Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - at home last year. He has scored just one half century since then in 16 ODIs.
Malik played some handy knocks during the World Twenty20 in England, averaging almost 29, while Misbah managed 82 in four innings. But both have struggled in the 50-over format. Malik's unimpressive record this year includes just the one half-century - 54 against Sri Lanka at Karachi - in 12 ODIs. And Misbah's last two fifties came against Australia and Sri Lanka, with Pakistan having already surrendered the respective series.
Aamir Sohail, another former captain, believed the experienced batsmen were not playing for the team. "They are playing for their survival, they have always struggled on the wicket where there's seam movement," he said.
Pakistan's next match is against India on Saturday, before they take on defending champions Australia in their last group match on September 30.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali