'Don't they know about pitches and conditions? Are they there for time pass?': Ex-PAK player furious over team selection
Former Pakistan spinner Tauseef Ahmed did not hold back on his criticisms of a few plans and decisions from the team management.
Pakistan completed a famous run chase in Galle against Sri Lanka, thanks to an inspired innings by Abdullah Shafique as he stayed in the crease for more than 10 hours in the fourth innings and ensured Pakistan came away with the result. However, it wasn't all rosy for Pakistan in the Test match, and they needed two historic innings from Shafique and captain Babar Azam to ensure they got a positive result from the match. Also Read | Very clear in his mind that 'I don't want to play anything else': Shastri's bold prediction on India star after 2023 WC
Former Pakistan spinner Tauseef Ahmed did not hold back on his criticisms of some of the plans and decisions deployed by the team's management. In an interview with Cricket Pakistan, Ahmed laid into Pakistan's shortcomings in Galle.
"I can't understand the reason behind benching Fawad (Alam). It is not right to drop him based on the performance of one series. Our playing XI was not right and needs to be fixed in the next game," he said.
"Salman Agha is quite mature and is a proper batter, he is not an off-spinner but here we induct players who can also bowl a bit and it needs to be stopped, players having proper expertise must be included. I will also talk about Mohammad Nawaz, yes he took wickets and it's appreciable but he is not a spinner who can bowl for a longer period. Looking at the pitch, Nauman Ali must be included," he continued.
"This is not a criticism but we are pointing out mistakes. Sri Lanka are going with three spinners while we are playing with three pacers. Greats are part of the dressing room, don't they know about the pitches and conditions? Are they there for time pass?"
This is strong criticism from Tauseef, who feels clearly that the experience that is present in the coaching group of the Pakistan national team should know better than to replicate the mistakes of the past.
However, Tauseef was happy to appreciate that Pakistan performed well when it mattered, and flipped the script by ensuring they held their nerve during a tricky run-chase on a Day 5 pitch in Galle.
"If someone would have said that before the fourth innings that Pakistan can chase this down, he would be something extraordinary; if someone is saying they believed after viewing the target, they would be wrong," said Tauseef. *I also said that if the target would be 200+, Pakistan will face problems. Everyone saw the pitch was offering turn from the patches. Pakistan produced a batting display that is not expected as we are considered bad chasers."
Sri Lanka were fresh off a fantastic fourth innings bowling performance against Australia at the same venue, and it speaks well to Pakistan that they managed to chase down a relatively steep target: Shafique rightfully won man of the match for his 160*, and in doing so has now scored 720 runs in his first 6 matches — highest of all time in that timeframe for a Pakistani batter, and amongst the highest worldwide.
The series will continue with another Test match at Galle beginning on Sunday, 24 July, and it will be interesting to see what changes Pakistan decide to make to a team which did win the match.
There were certainly lessons to be learned, as Tauseef Ahmed pointed out, and a lot could depend on the team selection in the second Test match, with a WTC final berth on the line.