Wrong team picked: Ex-Pak Test players

Sarfraz Nawaz and Moin Khan were among a host of former Test cricketers who blamed bad team selection for Pakistan's stunning 50-run loss to Sri Lanka.

updated: July 07, 2009 08:59 IST
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Sarfraz Nawaz and Moin Khan were among a host of former Test cricketers who blamed bad team selection for Pakistan's stunning 50-run loss to Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test at Galle.

"Where was Abdul Razzaq, where was Fawad Alam, where was Danish Kaneria?" asked ex-Test fast bowler Nawaz.

All three of those Pakistan players watched from sidelines as the batting order succumbed to disciplined Sri Lankan bowlers for a paltry 117 in the last innings - chasing modest 168-run for victory on Tuesday.

Pakistan was in sight of victory when play resumed with two days remaining, needing just 97 runs to overhaul the victory target with eight wickets in hand.

However, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (4-15) and seamer Thilan Thushara (2-21) hurried the Pakistan collapse and the visitors lost their last eight wickets for meager 47 runs to be bowled out in the second innings.

"I was watching the (batting) collapse on television and told myself 'maybe its just a dream, the real match will begin afterwards,'" Nawaz said. "It was unbelievable the way our batting collapsed, I was not expecting such a performance."

Pakistan captain Younis Khan, who led his country to victory in the World Twenty20 in England last month, had to come on to bowl before lunch on the first day of the Test match. The move surprised Nawaz.

"It shows that you haven't done your homework and left out two of your key bowlers," Nawaz said, referring to Kaneria and Razzaq.

Another former Test captain, Moin Khan, blamed poor team composition and said left-handed batsman Alam should have been included in the XI.

Alam "scored 80 odd runs in the warm-up game, he's also an excellent fielder and a player who can also bowl left-arm spin, I fail to understand why he was left out," Khan said.

It could have been highest run-chase at Galle International Stadium in 14 Test matches as the teams have struggled batting fourth at a venue which was completely rebuilt after the Tsunami struck Sri Lanka in 2004.

"There is some psychological problem with our batsmen as we have struggled to achieve small totals in Test matches for quite a long time now," another former Test batsman Ijaz Ahmed told Geo Television.

Ahmed suggested Pakistan's batting needed to be fine-tuned and the Pakistan Cricket Board should hire a specialist batting coach. Presently Pakistan team coaches are former Test leg-spinner Intikhab Alam and ex-Test medium fast bowler Aaqib Javed.

"Both coaches are bowlers so it leaves only captain Younis Khan and somewhat vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq to guide other batsmen," Ahmed said. "I think we should have a batting coach who can teach the finer points of the game to our batsmen."