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Cricket: Ashraf blasts Pakistan for embarassing loss

Ashraf blasts Pakistan for embarassing lossNasim Ashraf, the chairman of the PCB, has criticised the Pakistan side after their embarrassing 140-run loss to India on Tuesday.

In an e-mail written to team manager Talat Ali, a copy of which was published in Dawn, Ashraf was especially severe on Shoaib Malik's captaincy and fitness, and picked out Kamran Akmal for "unsporting behaviour" after he claimed a catch that he hadn't taken cleanly.

"Last night's performance against India in which we lost by over 100 runs was embarrassing," Ashraf, who will fly to Dhaka on Saturday to have a meeting with the team management, wrote. "It is not a question of losing a match but our overall performance and the lack of resolve and commitment bothered me the most."

Ashraf has sent copies of the letter to coach Lawson and Malik and asked the team management to respond in 24 hours "so that timely action can be taken before the next match against India [assuming the sides meet in the final]."

He questioned why an additional spinner was not included in the team and inquired about the fitness of Malik. "The previous game against Bangladesh had clearly highlighted the characteristics of the track in Dhaka, that the spinners were going to play crucial role. The team selected for India game had four fast bowlers. Also, you [referring to Ali] clearly told me that Malik was 100% fit and therefore was the second spinner in the side. What happened to that? Why did Malik not bowl?"

Ashraf then turned his attention to the team's strategy, saying that they looked "paralysed" in the field after the flying start made by India. "Nobody suggested to the captain that he must have a mini conference with the vice-captain and other players - junior or senior - and take corrective action. Even the commentators were talking as to the possibility of changing the bowling and bringing in Shahid Afridi at an early stage."

Meanwhile, Akmal's place in the side looks to in danger after Ashraf called for his ouster. "[The] wicketkeeping was pathetic, especially after Kamran Akmal dropped the catch and pretended that he had held on to it. This is unsporting behaviour but perhaps one has to give him the benefit of the doubt as he may not have realised that the ball had slipped out from his hand, which was picked up by the cameras.

"I do not want such behaviour from any Pakistani player. Please warn everyone. We ought to be looking at playing another 'keeper."

He said that fast bowlers should be advised not to "overextend themselves" referring to the 38 extras conceded. "They should have been instructed to bowl strictly to a line and length and to contain especially when the batsmen were in such full cry. It seemed as if we were just continuing with tactics that were clearly not working. We need to be more proactive on the field."

The team's body language also earned Ashraf's ire." Except for a few on the field, the body language was not competitive. We were smiling and joking as if we were some junior team which was happy just to be given the privilege of playing a top team. This has to stop."

He directed the team management to conduct a fitness test on Malik "so as to determine clearly whether he can bowl full 10 overs." He also asked the touring management to decide on the playing XI for a probable summit clash with India, and, to request for an additional spinner if they needed one.

The only positives Ashraf noted was Malik's 67-ball 53 and the bowling of Afridi, though he felt the latter "threw his wicket away in a most irresponsible manner," after making his way to 23.



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