Former Pakistan batsman Aamer Sohail has expressed his unhappiness over the selection of Shahid Afridi for the 1999 World Cup. Aamer Sohail cited the issue of selecting Shahid Afridi, saying that he could not do well in either of the departments. Instead, the former Pakistan captain was inclined to open with Mohammed Yousuf in the tournament.
Shahid Afridi made his international debut in 1996 and went on to have a long and flourishing career. Nevertheless, the 1999 World Cup held in England was a forgettable tournament for the all-rounder. Afridi could manage only 93 runs in eight games at 13.29. On the other hand, with his leg-spin, Shahid could pick up only one scalp at an awful average of 115.
Aamer Sohail stated that Pakistan should select openers who can neutralize the threat of the new ball and take their time in the middle.
“When I was captain in 1998, we had decided with the selectors that we should have regular openers for the World Cup who can stay at the wicket and play out the new ball,” Sohail stated in his Youtube Channel.
Sohail termed it as unfortunate on the selectors’ part, who opted for Shahid Afridi. The veteran continued by saying that the swashbuckling all-rounder could blunt the bowling attack on flat decks. However, on demanding conditions, he was not the right match and that he could neither bat nor bowl.
“Unfortunately, you opted for Shahid Afridi, he had ability on flat low-bouncing tracks where he would take on the bowlers and bring the opposition under pressure. But in demanding conditions, that is a big gamble. He was neither able to bowl nor able to bat. If I was the captain instead of Wasim Akram, I would have preferred Mohammad Yousuf,” Sohail conceded.
So, according to me there were two reasons for your loss at the World Cup: Aamer Sohail
The 53-year-old further said that the team composition was one of the significant reasons they lost in the competition. Furthermore, Aamer Sohail also slammed the decision to bowl first in the final against Australia at the Lord’s in London.
“So, according to me there were two reasons for your loss at the World Cup. One was that your team combination was not correct at all and the other that you opted to bat after winning the toss when you knew that it had been pelting down in London,” the 53-year old remarked.
He pointed out that Pakistan went all the way to the final with an unchanged team. According to Sohail, only a local team opts for a side like that in a mega tournament.
“From my cricketing experience and my observation, I can say that we played the entire World Cup like a local team. We had one line-up in a match and a different line-up in the next match with changing batting orders,” he said.
Before the World Cup final, there were reports that it had rained a lot in London: Aamer Sohail
The Lahore-born cricketer continued by saying the rain before the World Cup final signalled that Pakistan should not bat if they won the toss. After Salim Malik advised Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, Akram stated they would field first.
He rued the decision of exposing their batsmen against a potent Australian bowling line-up. Pakistan’s bowling attack was doing equally well and could have constricted Australia to a chasable total on a lively track. Spearheaded by Shane Warne’s figures of 4/33 in nine overs, Pakistan were skittled for 132, which Australia chased in 21.4 overs with eight wickets to spare.
“Before the World Cup final, there were reports that it had rained a lot in London. As it is, there is a slope at Lord’s due to which the ball does something all the time. Salim Malik told me that he had requested Wasim Akram not to bat first after winning the toss else we would be in great difficulty.
We should not have exposed our batsmen on a difficult pitch against a confident Australian bowling line-up. Salim Malik told me that Wasim Akram had said that we would definitely bowl first after winning the toss. Because our bowling was doing well at that time, we could have restricted the opposition to a low total and lifted the confidence of our batsmen,” Aamer Sohail concluded.