Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar slammed Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan for his batting approach in the Asia Cup 2022 final against Sri Lanka at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (September 11).
While chasing a 171-run target, Rizwan top scored for Pakistan with 49-ball 55 but his knock lacked intent and failed to keep the required run rate under check as the Men in Blue fell 23 short at the end of 20 overs.
After completing his half-century, Rizwan attempted a big shot against Wanindu Hasaranga but was caught at the edge of the mid-wicket boundary.
Following the game, Akhtar questioned Rizwan’s batting approach at the top and criticized him for not finishing the innings after spending time in the middle.
“Are we playing the wrong team time and again? There are question marks on Mohammad Rizwan because he can’t finish the game, he needs support from others. He played run-a-ball innings and after that, if he is not able to finish the match, then it is going to be a problem. So I think Pakistan has played very bad cricket, they should have batted first after winning the toss. Don’t know what was their plan," he said on his YouTube channel.
Shoaib Akhtar reserved special praise for the Sri Lanka team for their efforts amid the political and financial turmoil their country is going through currently.
“What a great nation Sri Lanka is, look at what they have gone through for the past six months or so. They managed to come out here and they show the world that they are the best in the tournament despite having India and Pakistan there. I am very happy for Sri Lanka, Well Done. I am very happy for Afghanistan, they also played good cricket, but unfortunately, they lost to us (Pakistan)," he remarked.
Akhtar was also critical of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who finished the tournament with just 68 runs from 6 innings at an abysmal average of 11.33.
“But, Pakistan leaked too many runs with the ball. Babar Azam didn’t score runs throughout the tournament. Class Class Class, leave the class aside. Your class only displays when you are in form. He is trying to hit from the first ball itself. Secondly, Fakhar Zaman doesn’t know what has happened to him. And Ifitikar Ahmed he continues to play run-a-ball innings," he said.
The Rawalpindi Express also asked the selection committee to weigh up the squad and he feels it is a mix-and-match team at the moment.
“Excellent fielding effort from Sri Lanka. Our fielders are colliding on the field. Pakistan have overhyped themselves, they have played very bad cricket in all the departments. Absolutely horrible, I hope Pakistan learn a thing or two from here. You have to look at all the players in the middle order. The selection committee has to give a thought about their players. You can’t play the mix-and-match team,” he stated.