Batsmen to blame, say former Pakistan captains
Following Pakistan's narrow five-run defeat to India in the ICC World Twenty20 final at the Wanderers, former Pakistan captains criticised the team for not overcoming its jinx against India in major tournaments and blamed the batting for the loss. Wasim Akram and Intikhab Alam praised both teams for making the final a memorable one while Javed Miandad lashed out at the lack of planning when Pakistan were set to chase 158.
This was Pakistan's second consecutive defeat to India in the tournament after the first was settled in a bowl-out after the scores were tied. Pakistan lost to India in all their World Cup encounters and their solitary win in a major tournament came during the Champions Trophy in England in 2004.
"It's a repeat and it will hurt the fans and players alike for some time. But apart from that jinx both teams played superbly and cricket was the winner," Wasim Akram told AFP. "It was a close game and the better team won. No regrets. It was only a game and people have to take it as a game and must appreciate the quality of cricket."
Akram however wasn't pleased with the shot selection of a few senior batsmen. Both Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi fell to lofted strokes while Misbah-ul-Haq, who nearly took Pakistan home in the final over, perished trying to scoop Joginder Sharma to fine leg, a risky stroke given the circumstances.
"I would blame Pakistani batsmen Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi for their reckless strokes," he said. "In the end Misbah-ul-Haq should have played a straight bat shot."
Commenting on the positives to emerge from Pakistan's campaign, Akram singled out Shoaib Malik for his leadership and added that Pakistan had the potential to lift the next World Cup.
"Shoaib Malik has emerged as a great captain and the way he led the team from the front, I see Pakistan winning the World Cup in 2011."
Miandad came down hard on the decision to promote Kamran Akmal at No. 3, ahead of Malik who was in good form. RP Singh dismissed Akmal for a third-ball duck, bowled after swinging across the line.
"We have maintained our losing streak to India in World Cup matches and I would blame poor planning for that," Miandad said. "Why did Malik not come in at No. 3 instead of Kamran Akmal?"
Alam acknowledged Pakistan's efforts in reaching the final after a difficult few months following their shocking exit from the World Cup in the West Indies earlier this year.
"The World Cup jinx continues and India seems to have an edge over us in all World Cup matches," Alam said. "But I am grateful to the Pakistan team for making the final a fitting one."