Pakistan’s fielding was absolutely crap! Asif Mujtaba

Hello and welcome to session # 3 with Asif Mujtaba. Thanks for all the feedback on our previous sessions. We are dazzled with the  response so far. Should you have any questions for Asif Mujtaba, do let us know and we will include it in our next session.

Kamran Muzaffer: Thanks for taking out the time again to discuss Pakistan’s World Cup campaign. What do you think about Pakistan and West Indies Game?

Asif Mujtaba: I mentioned it before that if West Indies manages to score 275, Pakistan will be in trouble. Pakistan was sailing smoothly for the first 30 overs but the body language players was not the greatest, which is needed for a winning combination.

KM: What could be the reason? Was it the added pressure of not having Ajmal and Hafeez in the side, team chemistry, grouping in the team, management issues, lack of planning or lack of intent?

AM: Pressure is certainly there but I am sure it’s not related with Ajmal and Hafeez. There may be few reasons and for the starter, it may be pressure from the management on players. Sometimes unnecessary stress put mental pressure on players that makes them perform under par.

The team chemistry is yet to be discovered and we certainly lack in terms of planning. PCB just slept over the World Cup preparation for years and they didn’t prepare any ODI Openers and All-Rounders even when we were aware of Ajmal’s and Hafeez’s issue for some time now.

It seems to me that team management is not on one page. There is no such thing as strict discipline. It can be discipline or no discipline. If there is discipline then everyone should be abide by the code of conduct. The team lacks in execution also, the ability of the players is there but they are not performing accordingly. There are also so many rumors around different players and we all know that there are so many people working on their own agendas also. They are spreading rumors about different players and these people don’t want Pakistan to win due to their own personal interests.

Faraz Ishaq: Do you think electing to bat after the toss was a good idea?

Asif Mujtaba: Batting first or second is not the issue, the team combination and the team chemistry is.

FI: How do you see inclusion of Nasir Jamshed and exclusion of Yasir Shah?

AM: Yasir Shah shouldn’t have been dropped. The problem is that the team management doesn’t have faith in their own players. Leg Spinners are known to be the strike bowlers and not to be the stock bowlers or the ones to contain runs. He should have been in the team and also the regular Wicket Keeper. Nasir Jamshed has the ability to bat but his fielding ability is a liability. His act of going to nets after getting hurt and during the game was also foolish.

FI: Do you think it was the good idea to bring spinners right after 10 overs?

AM: It was absolutely a defensive move. Misbah shouldn’t have let the West Indian’s batsmen to settle in. If Yasir was playing and Misbah brought him to bowl then it would have been the best move.

KM: What about those dropped catches and over all fielding?

 

 

 

 

AM: Our fielding was absolutely crap. Fielding is the only thing that doesn’t require talent. Fielding capabilities can be improved with hard work and good guidance. Afridi doesn’t drop catches usually but this was the day when we saw him dropping multiple catches.

KM: What was the turning point of the game?

AM: 1 for 4 was the starting point and there was no turning point after that.

FI: Do you think the public reaction over Pakistan’s performance is appropriate?

AM: Cricket is the only thing which brings smile on the faces of our nation and our nation is expecting our team to win. We can criticize the players but we can’t be abusive against them. All the players are trying very hard up to their abilities and facilities provided. Some of the ex-players are being personal against the current players and that is not appropriate and ethical. One player has also accused a board official for requesting bribe to get the NOC to play in Bangladesh without providing any proofs and that is also not appropriate. They have to provide proofs with all the allegations.

KM: What should be the team composition from here on? Should Nasir Jamshed be part of the team?

AM: Nasir Jamshed should be part of the team only in one case and that is after he improves his fielding. My Team for the next game would be:

  • Ahmed Shahzad
  • Sarfaraz Ahmed
  • Haris Sohail
  • Misbah-Ul-Haq
  • Umar Akmal
  • Sohaib Maqsood
  • Shahid Afridi
  • Wahab Riaz
  • Sohail Khan
  • Yasir Shah
  • Mohammad Irfan

KM: So you don’t think Younis Khan deserves a place in the team?

AM: At this moment, we need Younis Khan in the team but it all depends on how he feels about himself. If he is still confident then he can be very valuable. Asking him to open in the 1st match was a total blunder and in the second game he was just unlucky because the ball was really good. At this time we should try to take away the pressure from him and if required, send him to bat when the other batsman is set; anywhere in between number 3 and number 5.

FI: Don’t you think adding Sarfaraz as an opener in the team will add more pressure on him?

AM: Sarfaraz is a confident player and I will prefer to ask him to open.

FI: OK, let’s have a look at the rest of the tournament till now.

KM: After the first week of the tournament, how would you rate the teams?

AM: Tournament is wide open for all teams.

KM: What do you think about India and South Africa game?  Was it just one bad game for South Africa or should read much from that that game?

AM: I think it was just one bad game for South Africa

FI: Do you think India’s win against South Africa with a big margin has raised our chances for the comeback in the tournament?

AM: It certainly did. If Pakistan wins the next 2 games, people will start talking about winning the World Cup!

KM: How about New Zealand and England’s game? Do you think New Zealand is a stronger side then 1992?

AM: Tim Southee made that game one-sided.  He bowled extremely well. New Zealand is not stronger than 92 but they are serious contenders.

KM: What do you say about Moin Khan’s incident?

AM: Whatever Moin did is not appropriate. He should have been careful and by going to the casino, he made a big mistake.

FI: Do you think that it was a good idea of announcing the retirement before the World Cup?

AM: Wrong timing. It is possible that that all the players were already aware of his retirement but that shouldn’t be the reason of not performing.

FI: Thanks a lot for the time Asif Bhai. We hope next time we talk, Pakistan has already won a game in this tournament.

KM: Thank you Asif Bhai

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