'Against India, players are scared. I'm pretty sure there were dressing room issues': PAK great makes explosive claim
Pakistan had a poor start to their World Cup preparation, losing by five wickets to New Zealand in their first warm-up match.
Pakistan faced a big defeat in their opening warm-up match against New Zealand earlier this week. The side posted a mammoth score of 345/5 but the Kiwis chased down the target with over six overs remaining, with five wickets intact. Barring the Pakistan openers, batters including Mohammad Rizwan (103 retired hurt), Babar Azam (80) and Saud Shakeel (75) scored crucial runs in the middle but the bowling attack – without Shaheen Afridi – failed to curtail the NZ batting order.
New Zealand cruised to the target in 43.4 overs with contributions from Ravindra (97), Williamson (54), Daryl Mitchell (59 retired hurt) and Mark Chapman (65*). While this wasn't an official ODI, Pakistan's poor form in the format continued with the defeat to the Kiwis; the side came on the back of two-successive defeats against India and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, and also saw rumours floating over a dressing room argument right after its exit from the continental tournament.
Babar had also acknowledged that there were differences in opinion but no argument as such, but former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan believes Pakistan team looked “scattered.”
“I saw this 100%. The players look scattered, they were hesitant in even giving suggestions to Babar, whether it was Rizwan, Shadab or Shaheen. It was visible that the team wasn't gelled up. There were no discussions, and even if there were suggestions and Babar was following them, they weren't working,” Moin told Cricket Pakistan.
The wicketkeeper also felt many Pakistan players looked “scared” against India, and didn't contribute at their optimum potential as a result.
“Another thing was, against India, players are scared. And those who really are scared that their suggestions won't work... that's fear. As a cricketer, you have to play on your potential and you should contribute 100%. It's okay if your suggestions go wrong, it happens. But your body language shows whether you want to win, and that wasn't visibl. And I'm pretty there were some issues in dressing room. And I know, in professional environment, there are differences but you have to end them to perform better. You have to move on,” said Moin.
Pakistan will play another warm-up game against Australia on October 3 before starting their campaign in tournament proper against Netherlands on 6.