Karachi: Former Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has urged cricket authorities to drop Umar Akmal from the team and blamed Shahid Afridi for the side's run of T20 defeats against England, New Zealand and in the Asia Cup and World T20.
In a hard-hitting report on his two-year tenure as coach, Waqar has directly blamed flamboyant all-rounder Afridi for his poor form, captaincy and attitude. The defeats led to the sacking of the national selection committee and the resignations of Waqar and Afridi as coach and captain of the national T20 side. In his full report, the excerpts of which were leaked out in the media and led to his resignation last month, Waqar specifically mentions Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad and Afridi and has advised the authorities to stop feeding off egos.
Calling Umar Akmal an indisciplined player, Waqar said, "Umar Akmal was asked by Haroon Rasheed (former chief selector) to come the following day for a fitness test to join the team in Sri Lanka for ODIs. Instead, he chose to catch a flight to the Caribbean for a lucrative league without informing anyone. A few months later, after he was caught in the Hyderabad incident and for misbehaving with his domestic team coach, he still managed to retain his place in the team. Is this the criteria we are setting for the selection of new players?" Waqar asked.
"Andrew Symonds was a very talented player for Australia and Kevin Peterson for England, but due to their behaviour they were dropped and were never picked again. Are we bold enough to take this step or do we fear the media and pressure from different people to play certain players? I can assure you that sacrificing one Umar Akmal will allow us to develop other players who can truly and proudly wear the star on their chest and represent Pakistan," Waqar said.
About the national team's poor T20 performances, Waqar claims it was all down to poor captaincy. "We lost to New Zealand, lost the Asia Cup and lost at the World T20, all due to poor captaincy. On several occasions, I had made it clear that Shahid Afridi was not performing with the bat, ball or with his captaincy. But they didn't listen to me. Poor tactics really cost us matches. Meetings were held after the New Zealand T20 series, where the boys emphasised that they felt confused at the captain's tactics," Waqar wrote.
"Shahid Afridi did not attend meetings or practice sessions. A captain is supposed to lead from the front, not like this. Bowling Mohammad Nawaz during a key Asia Cup game destroyed the youngster's confidence. He was so fixated on his own performances that he did not execute any game plan or use the right players at the right times. His sudden decisions like arbitrarily changing the batting order or field placements did not help the team," Waqar wrote. "He appeared to be under so much pressure and was 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 plans," he added.