'Pakistan's fan base is lower than before': Former captain Salman Butt worried after loss to England
Pakistan will be under immense pressure when they face England in the 2nd ODI to stay alive in the three-match series on Saturday. If the crushing defeat to an inexperienced England side in the first ODI in Cardiff was not enough, the criticism that followed from all quarters added to the heat. Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt joined the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Ramiz Raja, Kamran to slam the Babar Azam-led side for their performance.
Butt said Pakistan will start losing more and more fans if they continue to put together such disappointing performances against the top teams.
“How do you make fans? You make fans by winning matches and that is why people follow you. If you don't have a good victory ratio, if you aren't a world-beater and good competitor you won't have any fans. Fans will stay only till you get results and if you see the current state, Pakistan's fan base is lower than before,” Butt said on his YouTube channel after Pakistan lost to an England side that was forced to make 11 changes from their last match because of a virus outbreak in their camp, by 9 wickets.
“The star value of players is also lesser. Babar (Azam) has a good fan base because he is an outright performer. But if they don't win and lose matches like they did against an inexperienced England team then it will hurt the team,” Butt added.
Batting first, Pakistan were bowled out for 141 in 35.2 overs on a pitch that was pretty good for batting. England proved that in their reply when Dawid Malan and Zak Crawley struck unbeaten half-centuries to take their side home in 21.5 overs.
Butt said Pakistan batsmen don’t have the mentality to bat full 50 overs.
“Yes, it was a bad day but they also need to accept the fact and say it out loud and clear that they didn't play well. We didn't show fight with either bat or bowl. We don't have the mentality to play full 50 overs. No one talks about these things.
“To be honest we haven't played the past few series with a full-strength steam and the victories have come against lesser teams, which were either not in full strength or who do not play cricket at a high level,” he added.
The former opener also added that Pakistan has become over-reliant on Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
“We have been over-reliant on Babar and Rizwan's batting and only Shaheen Afridi has been picking up wickets consistently at the top. A team can't function based on just three or four players,” he said.