Former players criticise Pakistan's exit

Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi display their footballing skills AFP

Pakistan's exit from the World Twenty20 has drawn criticism from several former players. Having restricted Sri Lanka to 139 in the semi-final in Colombo, Pakistan were beaten by 16 runs. The team has qualified for the semi-finals in each of the four World T20s so far, winning the title in 2009 and going down to India in the final in 2007.

The inconsistency of Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir prompted former fast bowler Aaqib Javed, who has also been Pakistan's bowling coach, to question their place in the side. Former captain Zaheer Abbas and legspinner Abdul Qadir were surprised at the decision to exclude allrounder Abdul Razzaq from the playing XI in the semi-final.

"I don't know why these players don't show the sportsmanship and walk away themselves as he should have gone after Mohali semi-final [in the 2011 World Cup] against India"," Aaqib said about Afridi. "He had scored fastest hundred 16 years back, it's the past and it has nothing to do with the present. I don't understand why Imran Nazir is still there despite previous several unsuccessful comebacks and this is yet another one."

"It's been 12 years that Imran has been playing around the national team and he's yet to settle. In a player's career, a one-time sacking is enough [for one] to realise but as many as nine comeback [in his case] are still not enough to learn a lesson," Aaqib added.

Former fast bowler Sikander Bakht echoed similar views about Afridi and called for dropping other senior players in the side as well. "Its time for a change and drop Imran, Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, and ensure they don't come back again."

Razzaq was selected in the squad after a gap of nine months, but he played just one game in the World T20 this year, scoring 22 off 17 balls in the Super Eights win over Australia.

"I don't think Abdul Razzaq has been treated fairly and given the respect he deserves as a senior player with many match-winning performances to his credit," Qadir said. "There was no way you could go in to the semi-final without Razzaq after the way he performed against Australia. Unfortunately the truth is he has never been treated properly by the team management and we paid the price today."

Abbas said the captain Mohammad Hafeez had made some poor decisions, leaving out Razzaq being one of them along with not trying Kamran Akmal as opener. "The batsmen didn't play according to the situation and pitch conditions. I thought 140 was gettable in the match but the execution was missing, and Hafeez got out at a very crucial time. He should have finished off the game."