Afghanistan registered eight-wicket victory over Pakistan in ICC World Cup on Monday in Chennai.
Former Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram didn’t mince words in expressing his frustration. He criticized the team’s fitness levels, particularly in relation to their fielding performance, and urged them to introspect.
While speaking on a local sports channel, Akram emphasized that fitness plays a pivotal role in fielding and pointed out the need for the players to undergo fitness tests regularly, suggesting that some players seemed to be consuming excessive amounts of mutton.
“It was embarrassing today. To reach 280-odd losing just two wickets is pretty big. Wet pitch or no, look at the fielding, the fitness levels. We’ve been screaming for the last 3 weeks that these players haven’t undergone a fitness test in the last two years. If I start taking individual names, their faces will drop. Looks like these guys are eating 8 kilos of mutton everyday. Should there not be tests,” Akram said.
Akram also underlined the importance of having specific criteria for players’ fitness and mentioned that during Misbah-ul-Haq’s coaching tenure, such criteria were enforced, yielding positive results.
“Professionally you guys are getting paid, playing for your country. There has to be a certain criteria. Misbah, when he was coach, had that criteria. Players hated him but it worked. Fielding is all about fitness and that’s where we are lacking. Now we have reached that same position, where we will pray for ifs and buts to happen,” he further added.
The 57-year old also criticized the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for making rash decisions and expressed disappointment in the frequent changes in coaching staff and management.
“We were excited we were No. 1 but man, come on! Last 6-8 months, we had one chairman. And once he [Najam Sethi] came on board for 3-4 months, he straightaway changed the coaching staff. We reached the final last year. But out of the blue he came and shuffled things around,” Akram said.
Former pacer also pointed out the dismantling of the high-performance center built by Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani, questioning the need for unnecessary changes and advocating for stability in the system.
“Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani had worked so hard to get the high-performance centre together and build a system. They changed that too and made it into a National Coaching Centre. Not a single camp has been held there for 8 months. Why do you have to make unnecessary changes? Just leave it,” he concluded.