Veteran Pakistani cricketer Kamran Akmal has expressed his disappointment on Pakistan’s below-par performance against a second-string England team at the Sofia Gardens on Thursday. The tourists faced a massive defeat in the first ODI in Cardiff by nine wickets. The England team, comprising five newcomers, outplayed the experienced team in all the three departments to take a series lead of 1-0. The loss of the Pakistan team evidently did not go well with the fans and the team garnered a lot of criticism from veteran players, one of them being Kamran Akmal.
Akmal has eloquently bashed the team’s performance and their lack of intent after their 9-wicket defeat in Cardiff. He added that both the cricket played by the team as well as the selection process was not right.
“I don’t understand which way our performance is heading. It should get better by the day but Pakistan had a fully confident team who had played PSL, beaten South Africa. Wins and losses are part and parcel but the character needs to be shown now. Neither our cricket nor our selection process is right,” Kamran Akmal said on his YouTube channel.
The Babar Azam-led side got bundled out for just 141 runs inside 36 overs. It wasn’t just the batting department of Pakistan that failed miserably, but the bowling proved ineffective as well as the England team successfully chased the paltry target in just 21.5 overs. This happened despite the fact that England was playing with five debutants after their players tested positive for COVID-19 just a couple of days before the match.
Akmal went on to compare the Pakistan team with Sri Lanka and said that it seemed as if the team never left England. Sri Lanka recently toured England for their limited-overs series and returned home white-washed as England registered their comfortable series win.
“The way Pakistan played cricket, it didn’t feel as if Sri Lanka had left England. It felt as if England was playing against Sri Lanka itself. England did something that Pakistan should have done, bowling the opposition out for 141. Ben Stokes’ captaincy was outstanding,” Kamran Akmal stated.
The Ben Stokes-led team performed dominantly against Pakistan equipped with players from the County Championship. The debutants included opener Phil Salt, first drop batsman Zak Crawley, wicketkeeper John Simpson and allrounder Lewis Gregory in the middle order, and fast bowler Brydon Carse.
Right-arm fast bowler Saqib Mahmood gave early jolts to the visitors as he dismissed opener Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam for 0 in the first 3 balls of the match. Before the team could recover from the shock, he had already registered a figure of 4-42.
The only player who scored a decent run was Fakhar Zaman (47), but he did not receive any support from the top-order. Even Mohammad Rizwan retired early at the hands of Lewis Gregory, scoring only 13 runs. By the time Pakistan could complete their ton, they were already six wickets down.
During their chase, ICC No. 1 T20I batsman Dawid Malan contributed a stellar 68*. Zak Crawley also went past an unbeaten fifty to dominate the bowling attack. The pair stitched a partnership of 120 runs for the 2nd wicket and took the team to a breezy victory.
“They had so many new players but to bowl out an in-form Pakistan batting line for 141 was creditable. If we had scored 250 then we could have put pressure on their batting line-up. We had a better bowling attack than them. Gregory took the new ball for England, that tells you a story,” Akmal said, who last played for the national side in 2017.
The teams will next square off in their second ODI of the three-match series on July 10 at the Lord’s.