PAK vs CAN: Watch- Azhar Mahmood gets into a fight with a journalist in T20 WC Press Conference

Updated - 11 Jun 2024, 04:30 PM

Azhar Mahmood
Azhar Mahmood. Image Credit: ICC

Pakistan’s assistant coach, Azhar Mahmood, has lashed out at the media for the intense scrutiny and backlash directed at the national players for their disappointing performances in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Pakistan has so far had a disastrous T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, having lost their first two games against the co-hosts, the USA and India.

After the Pakistan cricket team's heartbreaking narrow loss to India in the high-voltage T20 World Cup 2024 match, several national players, including Azam Khan, were spotted at street eateries and shopping in New York, which led to heavy criticism from the fans and media outlets.

Azhar Mahmood criticizes media scrutiny amid Pakistan's struggles in ICC T20 World Cup 2024

However, ahead of Pakistan’s do-or-die T20 World Cup 2024 Group A clash against Canada on Tuesday, June 11, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, Mahmood defended his players by stressing that they have lives beyond cricket and need to unwind between matches.

Pakistan’s assistant coach further emphasized the importance of relaxation and entertainment for the players' well-being, arguing that their occasional outings are very important for mental health and team morale after such disappointing performances on the field.

Azhar Mahmood said at the pre-match press conference in New York: “We play cricket on the field and there is life beyond cricket. One loss does not mark the end of our lives. We need to relax between the games, so we step out of the hotel. That’s the source of our entertainment as well. The players can’t be kept in their rooms all the time.”

Mahmood pointed out that such activities are common among international teams and are not indicative of a lack of focus or commitment. He also highlighted that such criticism often intensifies after defeats, with the media and fans seeking scapegoats for the Pakistan cricket team's poor performance.

The assistant coach called for a more balanced perspective, reiterating that such outings are a normal part of life for professional athletes and should not be taken otherwise.

After losses, we tend to look for excuses: Azhar Mahmood

He feels players need personal time to recharge and maintain a healthy mental state to bounce back and perform at their best in the next matches. Mahmood urged the critics to support the players both on and off the field.

Mahmood further noted, “Did you see them roaming after the game? I even saw you there. You wouldn’t ask me this question if we had won the game. Though players follow a certain diet, but everyone goes out to have a meal; I have worked with other teams and even they do the same. After losses, we tend to look for excuses.”

He also blamed Mohammad Rizwan for Pakistan’s crushing defeat against India by recalling that they were at 72/2 after 12 overs and they had eight wickets in hand. Since Pakistan was in the commanding position of the game, Mahmood said that there was no need to show a hurry while pointing out Rizwan’s shot selection against Jasprit Bumrah.

He noted, “The shot was on, but it was not at the right juncture of the match and also on the wrong bowler.”


Azhar Mahmood Pakistan national cricket team ICC T20 World Cup India vs Pakistan IND vs PAK