Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali, who has been in the eye of a storm after dropping a crucial catch in the T20 World Cup semifinal loss to Australia, has got full support from the country's cricket stalwarts like Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq.
Pakistan's former captains Akram, Waqar Younis, Rashid Latif, Misbah and Inzamam-ul-Haq backed Hasan and said it would be unfair to hold him responsible for Pakistan's five-wicket defeat on Thursday night.
"I don't understand why one player should be singled out. Hasan has been an outstanding performer for us and won us matches. Anyone can drop catches or have an off-day…does that make him a bad player?" questioned Akram.
"What we don't want is that the whole country gets after poor Hasan Ali now. I have been through this, Waqar Younis has been through it. In other countries, it's just a game for people. Next day, you say well-tried, bad luck, better luck next time, and move on," he said on 'A Sports' channel.
Inzamam also agreed and noted that in such high-pressure games mistakes can happen. The Australians also dropped catches. Hasan is very low on confidence and I think it is the responsibility of the team management to ensure he does not fall down completely," he added.
Waqar echoed the sentiment. "No one does anything intentionally. As a former player myself I know I have been through such bad times...had off days in bowling...dropped catches. I remember how people criticised me after the 1996 World Cup quarter final but I think we need to understand it is a sport," he recalled.
Needing 22 runs off the second last over, Matthew Wade's wild swing at Shaheen Shah Afridi's third ball sent a skier towards Hasan who spilled the catch on the leg-side. Wade responded by hitting three more sixes to complete the winning chase against Pakistan. Hasan also conceded 44 runs from four overs against the Aussies.
"Harsh criticism and trolling on social media can hurt these players mentally and I can tell you the entire Pakistan team will be down after losing such a big match," Latif said. "The players will go to their rooms, they'll be quiet, they won't talk to their families and the defeat will haunt them. But I think we need to move on and come back strongly," he added.
He said Pakistan team had given a good account of themselves in the tournament and there was a lot to build on for next year's World T20 Cup in Australia. "The way he came back from his injury problems was a miracle and he has won so many matches. So I would just ask the cricket fans if he made a mistake, he is human and don't discourage him further," said Misbah.
Pakistan fast bowler, Wahab Riaz said it was not always easy to pick up the ball under lights at the Dubai stadium. "Catches are dropped by everyone. I think Hasan needs to pick himself up and move on. He has not had a very good World Cup and he is short on confidence."