If one thinks that the Indian news media is too emotional about cricket, they better check out the channels across the border in Pakistan. The commentary after a cricket defeat in Pakistan's channels would leave Indian news TV looking timid. After the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side succumbed to a big loss against India in the ongoing ICC 2019 World Cup, TV anchors and experts across the border had their knives out against everyone, from the players to board members.
In this melee of brutal criticism, there were certain people and certain decisions that were drawing the biggest share of the flak. Inzamam was being accused of putting his nephew in the squad ahead of the team's interest. The decision to bowl first by Sarfaraz was trashed mercilessly and the overall functioning of the team and the board were severely targeted also.
Ex-players launch fierce criticism
Sikandar Bakht, former international cricketer, appearing on a news channel, demanded that Mickey Arthur, the coach of the team, Inzamam-ul-Haq, chief selector, and Sarfaraz, should all apologise to the nation and submit their resignations.
Dr Nauman Niaz, veteran commentator and writer on Pakistan cricket, was even more blunt in targeting the selectors and the board. "There are five players in Pakistan who deserved to be in this team but are not. Why was Azhar Ali (forced to be) retired and disillusioned? To accommodate Imam-ul-Haq; To save Shoaib Malik, we side-lined Mohammad Nawaz; Usman Shinwari has been your top wicket-taker in the last two years, but he wasn't even considered for selection; You excluded Junaid Khan, who came back and proved himself when Amir wasn't taking wickets. With such intellectual dishonesty, how can you win?" was his emphatic reaction to Pakistan's debacle.
Another ex-player Mohsin Khan added the name of Asad Shafiq among the players, he felt, have been destroyed by the system and further went on to say: "What kind of games are we playing with our nation, our cricket? The same cricket that has given us world class players without any bloody coaching? I was given charge of the team but then was removed. Why? Because I said nobody would be in the team on the basis of recommendation."
Former pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who has his own YouTube channel where he uploads videos talking about the ongoing tournament in England, lashed out at Sarfaraz. "I cannot understand how a captain can be so brainless. He couldn't understand this simple thing that we are not good at chasing.... Brainless captaincy, brainless management and, at the same time, no thinking. Just look at the whole history, you lost the match to Australia while chasing, for God's sake!" a visibly irate Akhtar said.
Ramiz Raja also joined the chorus of criticism on his YouTube channel, Ramiz Speaks. The cricketer turned commentator was more composed than Akhtar but equally sharp with his words. "What's the use of Babar Azam's talent if he is not going to score big? What's the use of Fakhar Zaman opening the innings if he can't bat like Rohit Sharma?"
On several Pakistani channels, anchors railed against the decision of the team management to keep players like Shaheen Afridi and Haris Sohail out in favour of men such as Shoaib Malik and Hasan Ali. Aaqib Javed, former pacer for Pakistan, also expressed his adverse opinion of the team's performance and thinking. "Our result today is the outcome of the kind of shenanigans going on in Pakistan cricket for the last two years. The problems started with the whimsical approach of the selection committee, captain and the coach," he opined.