Former Pakistan batsman Aamer admitted that team management made a blunder by picking Shahid Afridi as an opener in the squad for the 1999 World Cup. Sohail claims that Afridi was neither able to bowl nor to bat in demanding conditions.
Sohail was the captain of the Pakistan team from 1996 to 1998, during which he led the side in six Tests and 22 ODIs. Meanwhile, veteran all-rounder, Wasim Akram was appointed the captain after him and he led the Pakistan team in 1999 World Cup.
“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 said on his YouTube channel.
Sohail said he would have preferred Mohammad Yousuf over Afridi as an opener in the 1999 World Cup squad.
“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.”
Afridi failed miserably in the 1999 edition of the mega ICC tournament, scoring only 93 runs in seven innings at an average of 13.28.
“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.”
“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,” Sohail said.
Pakistan lost to Australia in the final of 1999 WC at Lord's. Akram won the toss and opted to bat first, which was questioned by many. Pakistan were bundled out on just 132 by fierce Australia bowling line-up. The Aussie chased down the target in 20.5 over at the loss of just 2 wickets to clinch the World Cup title.