Shahid Afridi copped a lot of criticism Pakistan exited the ICC World T20 2016 from the Super 10 stage. Pakistan lost three out of their four matches in Group 2, to finish second bottom.
A post-mortem was inevitable after another poor performance in a world tournament by Pakistan, with Afridi the prime focus. The attacking batsman's captaincy has always been brought into question, following quite a few strange decisions on the pitch, and the team, manager Intikhab Alam joined coach Waqar Younis in criticising Afridi's skills as a leader.
Waqar wrote a detailed report on what went wrong for Pakistan in the World T20, criticising Afridi's decision-making abilities on the field and Intikhab has backed the coach's comments, in a report of his own, sent to the PCB, which has, again, fallen into the hands of the media.
"The tournament was being held in India, where the team was under multiple scanners at the same time, pushing the stress and anxiety levels very high," Intikhab wrote in the report according to ESPNCricinfo. "Much to our chagrin was a captain in his farewell event after a career spanning nearly 20 years, yet absolutely clueless in terms of on-field tactics and off-field leadership."
Pakistan, after a strong start to their World T20 campaign, when they thumped Bangladesh, lost their way in the loss to India at the Eden Gardens. Following that defeat, they went on to be comfortably beaten by New Zealand and Australia. Intikhab, who also blamed the weather, felt, Afridi could have captained his team better in that match, when India were in early trouble while chasing a total, before Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh strung together a crucial partnership.
"On the day, the events also conspired against us," Intikhab added. "For one, the weather didn't help. On the same square where the Pakistan batsmen gave a command performance against Sri Lanka (a warmup match) and Bangladesh, the weather suddenly turned from sultry and sunny to wet and unpredictable.
"Intermittent rain during the night prior to the game, followed by further downpours and overcast skies, meant that the pitch and outfield remained covered for more than 24 hours, changing its character from slow in pace to a spitefully turning and gripping one.
"I also felt if proper field placing was placed for Shoaib Malik in his initial over may have given us a breakthrough -- it was very surprising to see in a low-scoring game there was no attacking field-placing. There was no slip; had he employed a slip cordon for Malik, we may have had Yuvraj as two chances from his blade went through."
Intikhab also felt Afridi got the batting order wrong. The captain promoted himself to No.3 to no success, while leaving Mohammad Hafeez, coming off a sterling half-century against Bangladesh at the same venue, and Sarfraz Ahmed, one of their best T20 batsmen, with too few balls to face, which in turn led to Pakistan ending up with a total about 20-run below par.
"Earlier our batting, too, had left much to be desired. Hafeez was not sent in at number three while Sarfraz too did not get a meaningful strike. These two were our best bets, as they were our prime exponents against spin.
"The Indian spin attack was not challenged at all by our batting, save Shoaib Malik near the closing stages, resulting in a total that was 20 runs short of the average on the Eden Garden turf."
On Thursday, Waqar brought Afridi's place in the team to question, let alone as captain, insisting the all-rounder did not merit a place in the playing XI, owing to his struggles with bat and ball.
"We lost to New Zealand, Asia Cup and the World T20 due to poor captaincy," Waqar said in his report. "Over several occasions, I had made it clear that Shahid Afridi was not performing with the bat, ball or as a captain, but I was not listened to. Poor tactics, really cost us matches. A meeting was held after the New Zealand T20 series, where the boys emphasised that they felt confused with what the captain was telling them to do.
"He was so fixated on his own performance that he did not execute any game plan or use the right player at the right time. His sudden decision on changing the batting order or field placement did not help the team. He appeared to be under so much pressure and playing poorly as well, it really reflected poorly on the team.
"The whole team morale was down because they all felt the pressure from the captain. No matter how many times I talk to the players, it is the captain who has to lead the boys on the field and execute the plan."