‘When he was scoring at same SR, we were OK. Why?’: Malik hammers Pakistan star | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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'When he was scoring runs at same strike rate, we were OK as a nation. Why?': Furious Shoaib Malik hammers Pakistan star

Oct 25, 2023 06:43 PM IST

Shoaib Malik didn't mince his words as he talked about Pakistan's star batter after the side's defeat to Afghanistan in 2023 World Cup.

Pakistan faced a stunning loss at the hands of Afghanistan in the 2023 World Cup on Monday. It was their first defeat to Afghanistan and the one that has greatly hampered Pakistan's chances for a semi-final qualification. With two wins in five games, Pakistan are at the fifth spot with a negative Net Run Rate and might have to rely on other teams doing them a favour, in addition to winning all of their remaining matches. Babar Azam's men produced an uninspiring performance in Chennai for the clash against Afghanistan, conceding an 8-wicket loss despite setting a competitive 283-run target.

Shaheen Afridi with teammates celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan's batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz during the World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan(PTI)
Shaheen Afridi with teammates celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan's batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz during the World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan(PTI)

While the bowlers remain out of form for Pakistan, it doesn't help the side that some of their key batters have underperformed in the World Cup so far. Opener Imam ul Haq, who has been in good touch going into the tournament, has struggle to convert his starts so far. In five matches, Imam has scored only one fifty (70 against Australia), with scores of 15, 12, 36, and 17 in the other four matches. Imam's poor form hasn't helped Pakistan's cause as the side failed against arch-rivals India and Afghanistan.

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Also read: 'People twisted my words, called me traitor': Ex-Pakistan star drops sensational ‘Virat Kohli’ advice for Babar Azam

Playing as an opener, Imam has a rather modest strike rate of 82.63 in ODIs, and senior Pakistan batter Shoaib Malik was critical of the batter during ‘The Pavilion’ show on YouTube channel A Sports.

When the anchor of the debate asked Malik to comment on Imam's poor performances, the star all-rounder recalled his tweet from last year, where he took a dig at ‘friendships’ in Pakistan setup.

“When he was scoring runs consistently with same strike rate, no sixes, maybe two fours. We were okay as a nation. Why were we ok that time? Why did it not bother us? If you remember, I was the one who tweeted. Now, everyone remembers that. I tweeted, ‘when will we come out of friendships and favours? God helps those who are honest’," said Malik.

“I talked about everything in our system (in the tweet). If I were diplomatic, I wouldn't shoot myself on the foot when the World Cup squad (T20 World Cup 2022) was about to get announced. It was about the whole infrastructure. And I'm sticking to my tweet,” said Malik further.

Pakistan have four matches remaining in the tournament (against South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England), which means it could be rather tricky for Babar Azam and co. to secure a spot in the knock-outs. Two of Pakistan's upcoming opponents – South Africa and New Zealand – are currently in top-4 and have conceded only one loss each.

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