Saturday, March 25, 2023
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has slammed the Green Shirts' "lacklustre performance" against Afghanistan in the first T20I of three-match series in Sharjah on Friday.
Pakistan fielded a relatively young side, with four debutants, since they have rested many of their senior players for the series, and conceded a six-wicket defeat at the hands of the neighbouring country.
“There is no problem with doing experiments but winning still remains your top priority. You can’t put up lacklustre performances, with so many mistakes, like these since it will give the world the impression that there is still room for improvement in our next best lot,” Raja said on his YouTube channel.
“There is a lot of talent in Pakistan but these players also need to make the necessary adjustments in accordance with the situation of the game,” he added.
Raja also suggested that Pakistan can include an additional spinner in the lineup for the remaining matches due to the slow pitch.
“If the pitch remains like this, I think it will be an exciting series. Now the pressure is on Pakistan and we have to see what they learn from this defeat,” he said.
“Looking at the pitch, I think you can play one additional spinner since the surface won’t offer assistance to the pacers unless you are express like Ihsanullah.
“But Pakistan need to chin up since they can still make a comeback and win the series.”
It must be noted that, while chasing a target of only 93 runs, Afghanistan reached home in 17.5 overs for the loss of four wickets.
This was the first win for Afghanistan over Pakistan in international cricket.
Debutant Ihsanullah claimed two wickets in his first over to put the batting side under pressure. However, Afghanistan held their nerve to chase down the target.
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who finished the match with a six, scored an unbeaten run-a-ball 38 with the help of three fours and a maximum.
Earlier, after a brilliant bowling display by Afghanistan, Pakistan were restricted to 92-9 in 20 overs. This was Pakistan's lowest total after batting full 20 overs in T20Is. The previous was 96-9 vs Australia in 2014.
Saim Ayub, middle-order batter Tayyab Tahir and right-arm quicks Zaman Khan and Ihsanullah made their Pakistan debuts during the match.
Meanwhile, top-order batter Abdullah Shafique, all-rounders Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim, and Azam Khan marked their returns to the Pakistan side.