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Akhtar, Latif offer 'free' help to PCB

The former legends believed that the Men in Green had hit rock-bottom

PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan cricketers Shoaib Akhtar and Rashid Latif, through a Youtube video, offered their services for free inorder to help the struggling Pakistan side, after their humiliating three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series whitewash against a depleted number-eight ranked Sri Lanka side at the Gadddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.

Akhtar urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to contact him if they required any help. He claimed that he would help the team for free, if needed.

“We want a winning Pakistan. If you [PCB] need any help please feel free to ask. We will provide it and without any pay,” Akhtar said. “This was an embarrassing loss for Pakistan. It is really embarrassing to see the way Pakistan performed. The way our boys performed they were very fearful, their confidence was shattered and the captain himself seemed to be fearful as well.” 

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The former pacer believed that the Men in Green had hit rock-bottom and tried to identify the problems that plagued the Pakistan team.

“We can’t go lower than this. We have hit rock bottom. The purpose of our videos is not to criticise the team but to identify the problems. Sarfaraz Ahmed cannot bat at number four in the batting order as he is struggling. Iftikhar Ahmed should have come before Imad Wasim and Asif Ali as well,” he said.

Latif, on the other hand, was also baffled by the outcome of the T20I series.

“Ours was the number -one team. We faced an eighth-ranked second string side which won two matches, than they played a third string side and still won,” Latif said.

The former wicketkeeper claimed that the confidence of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed had been shattered and urged the wicketkeeper-batsman to rest out some matches to regain his lost confidence.

“The bigger responsibility is of the captain. He has to lead from the front. But his [Sarfaraz’s] confidence is just not there. When your confidence is shattered, you end up failing in most situations,” he said. “In these circumstances going in at number four, I think, was not a wise decision. This is the first time he has appeared visibly shaken. He left a stumping and a caught behind chance. When you are under pressure you should try to avoid one or two matches.”

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The 50-year-old revealed that he gave the same advice to wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal whose career spiralled out of control after the Sydney Test.

“I gave the same advice to Kamran akmal a long while back, that you should go away for three or four months. He didn’t take an off, than the Sydney Test happened and then the world cup. So nobody wants to take a rest,” he said. “Back when even we were playing we used to take rest after playing a lot of matches.”

Latif believed that the team could not gel together due to the change in management in the recently concluded T20I series against Sri Lanka.

“The team combination could not be finalised. The players did not gel together. The management is new, when mickey Arthur was there, under him there were four to five players who knew they would be playing. Right now no one knows if they are playing aside from Babar Azam,” he said.

The former wicketkeeper blamed the partnership between batsmen Haris Sohail and Babar Azam for Pakistan’s loss in the third T20I and urged the PCB to upgrade the pitches used in Pakistan.

“Pakistan lost the match because of the partnership of Haris and Babar. They left it for way too long at the end. Usually ten-an-over at the end is ok, but not on these pitches. They do everything from playing matches to practises on the same pitches,” he said. “The pitch did not have any life. We could see that the ball was staying very low. This is not how international cricket is supposed to be played. PCB should change these pitches immediately.”

Latif stated that he would reach out to the PCB inorder to offer his services to help the struggling Men in Green side.

“I will also try to talk to the PCB. This was a humiliating loss. We don’t want anything but to support the team. Whatever services we can offer to get the team on track we are ready. We don’t want anything in return but to have Pakistan winning again,” he concluded.