Former cricketers harshly criticized Mohammad Rizwan‘s 49-ball 55 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final.
As Sri Lanka continued to apply pressure by bowling cleanly in the middle overs, Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed (32) contributed 71 runs for the third wicket in just under 10 overs. By the time Rizwan was out in the 17th over, Pakistan had already lost the game. With six wickets in hand, they only needed 61 runs to take the final four wickets.
Saqlain Mushtaq Backs Mohammad Rizwan Amid Criticism
While providing analysis, Gautam Gambhir criticised Rizwan for his sluggish knock and questioned the batter’s batting strategy. Shoaib Akhter, a former Pakistani speedster, too had harsh words to say about Mohammad Rizwan’s valiant knock.
“Rizwan, 50 off 50 is not going to work anymore. Doesn’t benefit Pakistan,” Akhtar wrote on Twitter.
Saqlain Mushtaq, the head coach of Pakistan, backed Mohammad Rizwan’s batting strategy against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final, nonetheless.
“Unki soch hai. Jo bahir log baithe hote hai na, wo bahir se cheezon ko dekhte hai aur uske upar baat kar dete hai (Easy to comment from outside, one gets to know only when they are part of the team), said Saqlain, when he was asked about Mohammad Rizwan’s criticism from the former cricketers.
In six innings at the Asia Cup, Mohammad Rizwan scored 281 runs for Pakistan, including three half-centuries. In T20Is, Rizwan is also the top batter.
“It’s not their mistake. They saw the result, and scorecard and made their comments. They have no idea about what is happening inside the dressing room, what the players feel about their confidence and the injuries they are carrying.
“I have worked as an expert for three years. So, I know how things worked. Once they work closely with the cricketers from inside only then they will get to know about the team bonding, the environment,” he added.
Saqlain also praised Asif Ali and Shadab Khan for continuing to play after suffering injuries throughout the game.
“Asif ke haath mey chaar taanke lage hue hai. Shadab ke kaan me se khoon nikal raha, usko concussion ka tha fir bhi batting karne ke liye gaya (Asif played with four stitches in his hand. Shadab’s ear was bleeding, he was concussed after the collision and despite all of this he went to bat),” said Saqlain.
I’ll Credit The Sri Lankans: Saqlain Mushtaq
Bhanuka Rajapaksa earlier guided Sri Lanka from 58-5 to 170-6 in the final after Pakistan won the toss and decided to play after hitting an unbeaten 71 off 45 balls in Dubai.
“I’ll credit the Sri Lankans. We’d broken their backbone in the first nine overs, but the way Rajapaksa played, and the others rallied around him, no praise is enough. I’m sure it should be the best innings of his life. The way he lifted them, hats off,” said Saqlain on the Asia Cup winners.
Pakistan’s top order continued to battle against the speed as it fell to 147 all out off the last deliveries, with fast bowler Pramod Madushan taking 4-34 in just his second T20 international.
“As a batting unit, we didn’t perform according to our potential,” Babar said. “We didn’t finish the way we would have wanted to and gave away 15-20 extra runs … the more you learn from these ups-and-downs is good, but you need to reduce your mistakes.”
After losing to Afghanistan in its initial game of the tournament, Sri Lanka stunned everyone by winning five straight games, including two victories over Pakistan.