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02 March 2024

Why Pak can't beat India? Miandad has answer

Spectators celebrate India's victory over Pakistan in the Pool B 2015 Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on February 15, 2015. (AFP)


Pakistan great Javed Miandad bemoaned his side's latest World Cup loss to India.

Batting great Miandad, a member of the Pakistan side that won the 1992 World Cup -- the last time the tournament was staged in Australia and New Zealand -- slammed the selectors for several "mindboggling" picks.

"In big cricket matches, a team fields its best playing XI and do not experiment," Miandad told the ICC website.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan never remember this simple formula... It was nothing but a mindboggling team selection that shocked millions of its fans around the world.

"What's the rocket science of promoting Younis Khan as an opener? What's the logic of leaving out specialist wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed when he could also bat aggressively?," Miandad added.

"It was like pushing the panic button before the start of an all-important event like the World Cup."

Miandad blamed faulty selection for Sunday's defeat, saying it was "mindboggling" to open the batting with veteran Younis Khan or drop specialist wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.

"What is needed is to field the right combination and look for specialists instead of accommodating players who are not in form," he wrote. "Remember Pakistan should come first and not the individuals."


Luck of the toss

If Pakistan were looking for answers for its wretched losing streak against arch-rivals India in the World Cup, they need to cut to the chase and begin with the captain's luck with the toss.

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq is convinced India's luck with the toss has played a major role in its 6-0 scoreline against the old foes in the sport's premier 50-over showpiece.

"I believe batting first is always an advantage as batsmen tend to get under pressure while chasing in big games," Inzamam wrote in a guest column for the tournament's official website.

"I can't find a suitable word to describe what goes wrong when we chase against India, but it's more like a mental blockage of players."

On Sunday, after Virat Kohli's 107 had set up a 301-run target, Pakistan folded up for 224 with only skipper Misbah contributing a valiant 76 off 84 balls.

Failed to chase

When Misbah-ul Haq called incorrectly before Sunday's 76-run defeat at the Adelaide Oval, it was the fifth time in six World Cup outings that Pakistan had lost the toss to India.

In all those five games, Pakistan failed to chase down the target. The only time India batted second, at the Centurion in 2003, the genius of Sachin Tendulkar took the game away from Pakistan.

Pakistan failed to chase down totals of 216 in Sydney (1992), 287 in Bangalore (1996), 227 in Manchester (1999) and 260 in Mohali four years ago.

In 2003, Tendulkar tamed a star-studded pace battery of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar to fashion India's six-wicket win with a scintillating 98 off 75 balls after Pakistan had piled up 273-7.

Six straight losses will hurt more because Pakistan enjoy a superior overall one-day record over India, having won 72 games and lost 51.

In 1992 when the World Cup was held Down Under, Pakistan recovered from a 43-run loss to India in the league to win the tournament under Imran Khan.

Pakistan need to win at least three of their remaining five matches against South Africa, the West Indies, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe to confirm a quarter-final placing.

Pakistan next play the West Indies at Christchurch on Saturday.


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