Pakistan endured a tough 23-run defeat against Sri Lanka in the finals of Asia Cup 2022, following which several ex-cricketers lashed out on players, especially the batters for their dismal show. Many fingers were pointed particularly at Mohammad Rizwan, who emerged as the highest run-scorer of the tournament.
Chasing a stiff 171 in the finals, Rizwan scored 55 but it came at a slow pace. The wicketkeeper-batter took 49 balls to score the runs and was caught at deep as he tried to switch gears.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq were extremely critical of Rizwan’s performance. “Rizwan, 50 off 50 is not going to work anymore. Doesn’t benefit Pakistan,” Akhtar tweeted a day after the clash.
Inzaman, in a video shared on his YouTube channel, said: “Had the 70 runs been scored at a more leisurely rate, the final score would have only been about 140, which Pakistan would have been able to chase down. Therefore, those 70 runs would have been for nothing.”
However, Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq came to Rizwan’s rescue and took an indirect jibe at the “experts”, stating it’s easier to comment from outside.
When asked about the incoming criticism from the ex-cricketers during the press conference, the Pakistan coach said: “Unki soch hai. Jo bahir log baithe hote hai na wo bahir se cheezon ko dekhte hai aur uske upar baat kar dete hai (It’s their thinking, people observe things from outside and pass their remarks on it).”
He added: “It’s not their mistake. They saw the result, and scorecard and made their comments. They have no idea about what is happening inside the dressing room, what the players feel about their confidence and the injuries they are carrying.
“I have worked as an expert for three years. So I know how things work. Once they work closely with the cricketers from inside only then they will get to know about the team bonding, the environment.”
With Babar Azam not being able to make an impact with the bat, Rizwan was the backbone of Pakistan’s batting. The world no one T20I batter accumulated 281 runs in the six matches Pakistan played at the Asia Cup 2022.