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January 26, 2009
The predictable fallout from a disastrous loss to Sri Lanka in the series-deciding ODI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore has begun with the PCB asking Shoaib Malik and the Pakistan team management to submit a detailed report of the loss by Tuesday.
Pakistan were bowled out for just 75, their lowest total at home, and it resulted in their heaviest defeat ever in terms of runs, by 234 runs, in the third ODI on Saturday. Malik, coach Intikhab Alam and chief selector Abdul Qadir have also been summoned by the senate's sports committee to explain the reasons behind the loss.
"I have instructed Yawar Saeed (manager) and coach Intikhab Alam to give their detailed comments on the defeat in the next two days so that we can find out what happened. The board wants to know what has to be done to rectify the situation and set things right," Ijaz Butt, chairman of the PCB, said.
"We can't tolerate such poor performances from anyone. Like others I am also surprised at the way our batsmen played but I can't make any further comment until receiving a detailed report," he added.
Alam said he wouldn't offer any excuses for the crushing loss. "We are not shying from this defeat," he told AP. "The team management takes full responsibility of this embarrassing defeat. This [result] could be blessing in disguise for us because you can only move forward from here. You can't see a much poorer performance from the team than what we did in Lahore two days ago."
A number of aspects of the performance are likely to come under the scanner, from the dropping of Sohail Tanvir, to going in with three spinners when all the talk had been of using pace.
Salman Butt's decision to go off the field with two overs left in the Sri Lanka innings, which eventually prevented him from opening the innings and requiring a re-jig in the batting order was another in a long line of costly mistakes. Asked whether the team management was aware of the rules, Butt said the opener had been told by the manager, but got the information late.
"It could be one of the reasons because [Salman] Butt was one of the in-form batsmen. However, there is no excuse too be bowled out for just 75," the chairman said.
As expected, the ever-eager senate standing committee on sports also wants its' two cents' worth of the debate. The committee has been persistent critics of the board in recent years, regardless of which administration is in place and has regularly collared them over financial misuse and continuing poor performances.
Just recently they grilled the top hierarchy of the board and have now asked Malik and others to turn up at a hearing scheduled for February 9. Senator Enver Baig said he had discussed the defeat with other members of the committee, Tariq Mashadi and Haroon Akhtar, before deciding to summon the team management.
Malik's performance as captain, in particular, will come under question. In any case his record is not impressive, but continuing reports of his efforts to rid the team of players he doesn't gel with are likely to be brought up as well.
"There is no unity and the captain has been unable to gel the boys together," Baig told the News. "In the last game against Sri Lanka, Pakistan were worse than an ordinary club team. Such a performance is completely unacceptable."
The senate hearing had originally been called to probe the financial problems of the PCB, which the current board administration had blamed on the previous set-up led by Nasim Ashraf.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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