'Average players, average board, shameful performance': Shoaib Akhtar after England whitewash Pakistan 3-0 in ODIs
Explaining the reasons behind Pakistan’s 0-3 whitewash to England, Shoaib Akhtar said Pakistan cricket is being run by ‘average people’ and it is wrong to expect extraordinary things from average people.
A dejected Shoaib Akhtar called Pakistan cricket’s current situation ‘hopeless’ and demanded ‘serious’ introspection after the Babar Azam-led side lost the third and final ODI to England at Edgbaston in Birmingham to end up suffering a 3-0 whitewash. That a full-strength Pakistan side lost to an England team assembled in two days after their first-choice squad had to be isolated due to a virus outbreak, made matters worse.
Explaining the reasons behind Pakistan’s 3-wicket loss despite putting 331 on board, Shoaib Akhtar said Pakistan cricket is being run by ‘average people’ and it is wrong to expect extraordinary things from average people.
“It's a shameful performance. Our board is average. It brings average people, the management is average so obviously, they are going to build an average team. You can’t expect extraordinary things from average people. It’s wrong for you to expect.
“Crowd are coming to the ground but after watching such performances, the fan following will never grow. There is no star to inspire the youngsters. Then how can you bring the next Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi or Wasim Akram? You have to build brand,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
After being thrashed in the first two ODIs, Pakistan did put their best foot forward in the third ODI on Tuesday but even that was not enough. Captain Babar Azam slammed a record-breaking 158 – his highest and the most by any Pakistan player against England – to lead his side to 331 for 9. But in reply, James Vince hit his maiden ODI ton and Lewis Gregory scored a crucial 77 off 69 balls as England reached home in 48 overs with three wickets in the bank.
Akhtar said Pakistan cricket is stuck in 70s and are happy with scores of 320-330 when much more can be achieved on placid batting tracks.
“Why this England team is doing so much better than us? Our mindset after we lose a couple of wickets is to bat steadily, build partnerships and then only try and attack in the last 10 overs. This is 70s cricket. We are stuck in the 70s. England say even if we are bowled out in 40 overs we will make sure we get 300. Every England batsman that walked in, kept the scoreboard moving and it was not mindless slogging. It was methodical hitting, there was rotation of strike. But we are playing 70s cricket because our mindset is like that, we don’t want to improve,” Akhtar said.
Making no attempts to hide his disappointments, Akhtar said Pakistan cricket is in a ‘hopeless situation’ as the fans are not getting value for their money.
“Pakistan cricket is in a serious situation. They are in treacherous waters. It’s a very hopeless situation for PCB and Pakistan. I don’t know what the authorities are thinking but it’s a very hopeless situation. I’m not saying because I need a job but I’m saying this because I’m hurt. I played this game for my country. I ran in and I made sure people get value for their money. And they did that. Unfortunately, I’m not getting value for money from this team. This is not defendable, this is unexpected. This must be looked into,” he said.
Pakistan will take on England in a three-match T20I series starting from July 16.