Pakistan’s top batsman Mohammad Yousuf,who is no longer eligible to play for the national team due to his Indian Cricket League link,on Sunday called for the sacking of Shoaib Malik as the captain following his below-par leadership against Sri Lanka.
Yousuf held Malik responsible for Pakistan’s humiliating 234 runs defeat to Sri Lanka in the final one-day match in Lahore.
“Any team can win or lose matches but the spineless manner in which we lost the game was very disappointing. There was no sign of any proper planning or the captain being in control throughout the match,” Yousuf said.
Yousuf said unless the Cricket Board immediately changed the captain and brought in a more senior player to lead the team,Pakistan would suffer worse defeats against stronger opposition.
“We have just lost to Sri Lanka now but if they don’t change the captain we will face bigger defeats against teams like South Africa,Australia and India,” he said.
Yousuf has been involved in a war of words with Malik since he joined the ICL last November a move that took the Pakistan cricket community by surprise.
Yousuf one of Pakistan’s finest batsmen in recent years with 79 Test appearances behind him blamed the attitude of the Board and Malik towards him for his decision to join the ICL.
Yousuf said that even if he had been in the team it could have lost to Sri Lanka but he pointed out what was important was that a captain led by example.
“I don’t see that leadership quality anywhere in this series. They say Malik is in his prime batting form and yet he can’t get past 50 runs. When he is required to bat up the order he is late because he is in the wash room. He doesn’t bowl when the heat is on,” Yousuf claimed.
He said the Board needed to undo its mistake and replace Malik with a senior player who has the respect of all the players.
“We did well under captains like Imran Khan,Wasim Akram and Inzamam because they were established players first and had the respect of everyone as individual performers which is so important,” he noted.
Another ICL rebel,allrounder Abdul Razzaq also blasted Malik for the team’s defeat.
“Why is everyone surprised with this defeat. This is bound to happen when the Board ignores its senior players. What do you expect. The bottom line is that this team can only perform well against weaker opposition at the moment,” Razzaq said.
Malik under fire for humiliating loss against Lanka
Captain Shoaib Malik has come under fire after Pakistan’s humiliating defeat against Sri Lanka with the alarm bells ringing in the cricket establishment,former players asking for his head and youngsters holding demonstrations.
Former skipper Inzamam-ul Haq felt Malik has got to learn a lot about the art of captaincy.
“Malik clearly needed to learn more about captaincy and handling pressure when the chips were down,” Inzamam said.
Pakistan were bundled out for their lowest ever one-day score at home,75 in the third match in Lahore on Saturday to hand Sri Lanka a 2-1 victory in the three-match series.
He also said the absence of a senior batsmen like Mohammad Yousuf and poor form of Younis Khan left the batting line-up weak and fragile.
“I said before this series that with Younis also out of form we don’t have batsmen who can play long innings. They are clearly missing Yousuf and his experience,” he said.
Inzamam also called for the PCB to sack the chief curator who had prepared the pitches for the series.
“I don’t understand what strategy they were working on. The pitch for the final match was just not the sort our batsmen are comfortable and home sides are supposed to take advantage of playing at home,” he noted.
Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas said the Board needed to immediately appoint a batting coach for the team.
“Any team can lose a match but not in this manner. Our batting has problems and the team needs a permanent batting coach to help and guide them out all the time,” Zaheer said.
He said when the Board was spending so much on cricket it could easily attach coaches for batting,bowling and fielding with the team.
Former captain Rashid Latif said there was no need to panic but felt it was obvious there were problems in the team.
“I think the players,team management,selectors and Board need to sit down and work out things. Because such defeats can be very bad for any team,” Latif said.
“We are fortunate we are not playing immediately but we need to sit down and start preparing for the test series next month against Sri Lanka,” he added.
Meanwhile,around 50 youngsters held a demonstration outside the main gate of the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore demanding that Malik be sacked and ICL players be reinstated.
The Pakistan team which was bowled out for its lowest score at home on Saturday,suffered their biggest defeat in terms of runs in one-day internationals.
It was also Pakistan’s fourth lowest total in one-day internationals and the second biggest margin of victory between two Test playing nations.
To make matters worse,Pakistan President and PCB Chief Patron Asif Ali Zardari is reportedly not happy with the performance of Board chairman Ejaz Butt so far.
Pakistani players are due to attend a prize distribution ceremony,to be hosted by Zardari,of a domestic Twenty20 tournament in memory of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Presidency on Monday or on Tuesday.