Pakistan must remove players' insecurity - Razzaq

Abdul Razzaq blasts the ball down the ground AFP

Shortly after playing the "greatest innings" of his career, Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq has urged the team management and administration to work towards removing the uncertainty players feel over their place in the team because such an atmosphere is counterproductive to Pakistan's success. Razzaq, who blitzed 109 off 72 balls to wrench the second ODI from South Africa's grasp in Abu Dhabi, said he too felt insecure about his spot in the side and that Pakistan had failed to maximise his potential over the years.

"I always play the match as if it is my last," Razzaq said. "If players have this constant fear hanging over them that they will fail and then be dropped then they will never be able to perform properly. Even I felt that if I didn't do anything in this game I would be dropped. This threat has to be removed from the team because it is not productive.

"Those guys who don't perform for a couple of matches, they shouldn't be dropped so quickly. They need to be encouraged and their morale needs to be boosted."

Razzaq launched his breathtaking assault against South Africa from No. 7 in the line-up, a position at which he's batted 81 times in his 245-ODI career. The remainder of his innings, however, has been spread over every position, from opener to No. 11. He's also not been a regular member of the ODI side, despite his match-turning potential, and was exiled for two years for his association with the unofficial Indian Cricket League.

"I think my talent has not been properly utilised both in batting and bowling, especially, my batting spot has never been permanent," Razzaq said. "I don't think I have been utilised properly over the last five or six years as a batsman."

Sunday's performance against South Africa was Razzaq's first fifty-plus score in over four years and his first century since September 2004. It was the third time in 2010, however, that Razzaq pulled off victory for Pakistan. In the previous two instances, he scored 46 off 18 balls in a Twenty20 international against England in Dubai, and 44 off 20 balls in an ODI at Lord's.

Razzaq hoped his century against South Africa would lift Pakistan cricket, which is reeling from spot-fixing allegations and poor on-field performances. "Every time there is a controversy or we lose one or two matches, people start to write us off, which is wrong," Razzaq said. "I would request the fans to please keep faith in us so that we can lift ourselves."

The ODI series between Pakistan and South Africa is level at 1-1 ahead of the third match on Tuesday in Dubai.