Pakistan's Asia Cup flop 'a warning bell'

Former Pakistan cricket greats have said that the team's failure to reach the final of the Asia Cup was 'a warning bell' for problems that need attention.

updated: June 20, 2010 10:55 IST
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Former Pakistan cricket greats said Sunday Pakistan's failure to reach the final of the Asia Cup was "a warning bell" for problems that needed urgent attention before next year's World Cup.

"Pakistan did play well in both the matches but the fact is that we are still number three, behind Sri Lanka and India, which is a warning bell for next year's World Cup," former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas said.

The four-nation Asia Cup, being played in the Sri Lankan resort of Dambullah, is seen as a build-up for next year's World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Arch-rival India beat Pakistan by three wickets on Saturday, qualifying for the June 24 final against Sri Lanka and leaving runners-up Pakistan and Bangladesh to contest a league match on Monday.

Abbas said the results showed that Pakistan was performing poorly.

"Against India our batting did well, but bowling and fielding were not up to the mark," said Abbas.

Pakistan also failed to reach the final of the 2008 Asia Cup, when the tournament was held in their own country.

Abbas said there were "too many coaches" in the Pakistan camp, which he found "hard to understand," referring to head coach Waqar Younis, assistant coach Aqib Javed and batting-fielding coach Ijaz Ahmed.

"Too many coaches are spoiling the broth," Abbas said.

Former chief selector Iqbal Qasim, who resigned in February after Pakistan's winless tour of Australia, said Pakistan had to confront its problems before next year's World Cup.

"Fielding is our main problem, which again failed us on Saturday," said Qasim, a former left-arm spinner. "We also need to know when to utilise our batting powerplay, which is being spoiled every time."

Qasim said fast-rising batsman Umar Akmal and paceman Mohammad Amir needed guidance to turn their huge talent into better performances.

"Umar is creating panic when he comes on to bat," which led to run-outs for his batting partners which he survived, Qasim said.

"It's a big problem which needs to sorted out."

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi will lead the team on the tour of England starting next week.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20 and two Tests against Australia and four Tests, two Twenty20 and five one-day matches against England.