Pakistan’s national team is facing severe criticism after being knocked out of the Asia Cup in the Super 4 earlier this week. After facing a crushing 228-run defeat to arch-rivals India, Pakistan endured a narrow two-wicket loss in the must-win clash against Sri Lanka, as Charith Asalanka’s heroic innings helped the side snatch a win from Babar Azam’s men on the last ball of the run-curtailed run-chase. Following the defeats, Babar is facing significant criticism over some of his captaincy decisions and there have also been rumours of a rift in the dressing room following the elimination.
However, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez has come out in defence of Babar, insisting that the captain often takes the brunt of defeats while most players remain unscathed of criticism. Referring to the side’s heavy loss against India, Hafeez insisted that it wasn’t Babar’s responsibility alone to score 228 runs (the margin of defeat), nor did he concede as many.
“228 runs naa toh akele kaptaan ne karne the, naa hi usne akele khaaye (Neither Babar had to score those 228 runs, nor he conceded those runs). The players are responsible for that failure, and the management is responsible. I heard a statement that we hadn’t lost a match in past three months… I couldn’t understand that. 3 months of success doesn’t give you the license to lose this badly. I understand that it hurts because we lost that way to India, the margin of defeat was big,” Hafeez said.
“I believe Pakistan were better in the first game that was abandoned. But the second game, it caused damage to our mental state. And the way we lost to Sri Lanka, we weren’t really there mentally. We were still hurting with loss against India.”
Pakistan return to action in WC
Amid turmoil over media reports of argument in the dressing room and injuries to some of their key players, Pakistan will make a return to action during the World Cup warm-ups, starting September 29. They begin their campaign in tournament proper on October 6 when the side faces Netherlands in the opener.