Karachi: Scathing in its criticism after Pakistan's loss to India in a ICC World Twenty20 match, the media came down heavily on national coach Waqar Younis and skipper Shahid Afridi for their "faulty gameplan" and team selection.
In a low-scoring rain-curtailed 18-over-a-side showdown at the hallowed Eden Gardens last night, India first restricted Pakistan to 118 for five and then overhauled the target in 15.5 overs on a turning track.
With a moisture-laden pitch on offer following rains, Pakistan went by their strength and included four seamers in the playing eleven, leaving out left-arm spinner Imad Wasim. But the plan backfired as, to the surprise of all and sundry, the wicket turned from the first over itself.
In a sarcastic article, the 'Express Tribune' newspaper criticised the Pakistan team's tactics and questioned the logic behind including four seamers on a turning wicket.
"It's a good thought to have the legends of the game give a 'pep-talk' on the eve of a big game. It's a good thought to ease the nerves of the players before a big game, but all that translates into absolutely nothing if the team management and captaincy fail miserably at reading the cricket pitch or executing the requisite skills," an article in the newspaper said referring to Imran Khan's meeting with the players before yesterday's match.
"On a raging Eden Gardens turner, the think-tank benched their only decent spinner Imad Wasim, to send fans and pundits shaking their head. Do head coach Waqar Younis and skipper Shahid Afridi even know how to read a cricket pitch?
"Four seamers were played on a pitch that was turning square, the top was soft and under-prepared and it seemed no one had a clue," it added. The article also criticised Afridi's decision to promote himself at No.3 position.
"Pakistan needed their talisman wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed to bat at number three since his formative years were spent batting on square Karachi turners, his sweep shots and the ability to manoeuvre the ball was just what was that supply of 'oxygen' Misbah-ul Haq had alluded to some two years ago — Sarfraz walked out in the penultimate over."
"Girls outshone boys in cricket" was the headline in 'The Nation' newspaper, mocking the men's national team following the Pakistani eves' two-run win via Duckworth-Lewis over India in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 match at New Delhi yesterday.
An article in 'The Daily Times' carried the headline 'The jinx continues', referring to Pakistan's inability to beat India in major ICC events.
This was India's 11th consecutive win over Pakistan in the ICC World tournaments and also their maiden victory over the arch-rivals at the hallowed Eden Gardens in Kolkata.