The former Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif questioned the Pakistan team's preparations for the ICC World Cup 2023. Pakistan's failure to reach the Asia Cup 2023 final round triggered sharp criticism over players' performance in the tournament and the team's chances in the upcoming World Cup tournament.
Asif also took a sly dig at captain Babar Azam's form and notably lower strike rate in white-ball cricket. Babar was the leading run-getter for Pakistan in the Asia Cup with 207 runs but 151 of those runs came in a single innings against Nepal in the opening game. He scored only 56 runs in three Super 4 matches which attracted strong reactions from fans of the former cricketers. Asif also pointed out Agha Salman's poor form with a bat and said that the player has passed his best.
“I can bowl a maiden over to Babar Azam in T20 cricket even today, he cannot hit the ball if you bowl good deliveries to him,” Mohammad Asif said in Twitter space on Saturday. “I don’t consider Agha Salman as a player, he’s a waste of time. Even I can score the number of runs he scores. He only scores when Pakistan has already scored a lot of runs as a team.”
Asif, who played over 70 international matches for Pakistan from 2005 to 2010, also slammed the team's bowling attack for the World Cup. Pakistan's pace attack has been their main strength in recent months with Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah contributing consistently. So, the former pacer's comments come as a surprise for fans who added the team for the World Cup lack a special bowler.
“The bowlers selected in the World Cup squads are average, there is no one special”, Asif added.
Pakistan squad for ICC World Cup 2023: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Faqar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-Ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Salman Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir