- Pakistan’s historic loss to Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 draws sharp criticism from Wasim Akram.
- Akram blames the defeat on the team’s inadequate fitness measures and unhealthy dietary habits.
- He advocates for Misbah-ul-Haq’s fitness criteria in player selection to address performance and fielding issues.
In a scathing critique following Pakistan’s unprecedented defeat against Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, cricket legend Wasim Akram expressed deep disappointment with the team’s performance. The historic loss, where Pakistan succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, marked the first-ever defeat to the rising cricketing nation in the 50-over format.
Led by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan managed to post a total of 282-7, with notable contributions from Babar Azam himself (74) and opener Abdullah Shafique (52). Vice captain Shadab Khan and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed also played crucial innings, scoring 40 each. However, Afghanistan confidently chased down the challenging target in 49 overs, fueled by impressive fifties from Ibrahim Zadran (87), Rahmat Shah (77), and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65).
Expressing his views on the A-Sports show, Wasim Akram labeled the defeat as “embarrassing” for Pakistan, emphasizing the significance of Afghanistan successfully chasing a substantial target. Akram didn’t mince words as he criticized the team’s management for neglecting fitness tests over the past two years. He pointed out that some players have adopted unhealthy eating habits, contributing to the team’s overall fitness woes.
The legendary pacer called for the implementation of fitness criteria in player selection, echoing the sentiments of former coach Misbah-ul-Haq. Despite players’ initial resistance to strict fitness requirements, Akram acknowledged their effectiveness in enhancing overall performance. According to him, the team’s subpar fielding can be attributed to the lingering fitness issues that have not been adequately addressed.
In the wake of this resounding defeat, Wasim Akram’s candid assessment underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to player fitness and selection criteria. The cricketing fraternity awaits potential remedial measures to rectify the apparent lapses in Pakistan’s cricketing system.