Former Pakistan players blame selection for loss in ODIs
Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan batsman, has said Pakistan should not overreact to their 0-4 loss to England in the one-day series in the UAE as they have good enough players in the squad but just did not find the right team combination in the series. Apart from the selection of the XI, Nazar pointed to a lack of fitness as among the chief reasons for Pakistan's dismal series.
"The slump was the result of bad team selection," Nazar told ESPNcricinfo. "Pakistan never played with the right combination. Fitness is definitely a problem, especially with the fast bowlers, and the failure of the openers to put up substantial partnerships also has to be addressed. Overall the performance was a complete flop.
"These players are good enough to win matches but need to be played in the right combination. Though we lost this series, we have been winning ever since the tour to New Zealand [at the beginning of 2011]. Yes, there are problems but they need to be fixed rather than overreacting to the loss. We need to sit and analyse what the problem was; there is no need to press the panic button."
Abdul Qadir, the former Pakistan legspinner, said it was time Pakistan had separate squads for different formats. The squad for the ODI series against England was similar to the Test one, with Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik added, and Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Talha making way. The uncapped Awais Zia is in the Twenty20 squad.
"I think the time has come to form specialised teams for each format of the game; we have enough players to carry out that plan," Qadir said. "We need to get the right man for the right format."
Rather than criticise Pakistan for their loss, Qadir chose to praise England for bouncing back after being whitewashed in the Test series. "England's bowlers were outstanding and consistent," he said. "They turned the tables on Pakistan after the Test series.
"I have always been impressed by the English players' mental toughness. Despite their worst ever showing in the Test series, they bounced back hard and I am afraid they could further dent Pakistan in the upcoming Twenty20 series. The onus is now on the Pakistan team management to motivate the team to bounce back, and they too have the ability to do so."
Qadir also criticised the team selection, saying Pakistan played too many spinners, expecting them to repeat the success of the Test series, despite the pitches being livelier for the ODIs. "I think Pakistan failed to take full advantage of the pitches for the one-dayers; we never changed our focus from the Tests to the ODIs as we kept on expecting spinners to play a key role."
Iqbal Qasim, the former Pakistan spinner, echoed Qadir's thoughts on picking a separate team for ODIs and also disagreed with the team selections during the ODI series, pointing to the fact that Pakistan played just one fast bowler in the fourth match.
"Like other teams we should also designate some players for Tests, some for one-dayers and some for Twenty20 because this has proved beneficial for other teams," Qasim said.
Qasim and Imran Khan, the former Pakistan captain, backed Misbah-ul-Haq to continue leading the side in all formats despite the drubbing. "Misbah needs to show more aggression but it's too early to write him off," Imran said. "Misbah must bat up the order to get good totals. If one captain is doing well in all three forms of the game then there is no use having separate captains."
Edited by Dustin Silgardo
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent