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Shahid Afridi could 'neither bowl nor bat; Aamir Sohail blasts Pakistan's 1999 World Cup selection

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 23 July 2020, 11:47 IST

Former Pakistan skipper Aamer Sohail has let out how the team management made a blunder by taking in Shahid Afridi as an opening batsman in Pakistan’s team for the 1999 World Cup, stating that the all-rounder back then could neither bat nor ball.

Sohail, who led the Pakistan in six Test and in 22 ODIs, telling how he wanted Mohammad Yousuf to open the batting in the World Cup but the team management picked Afridi.

“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.

“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.”

Shahid Afridi was a huge misfire during the World Cup 1999, cumulating just 93 rins in seven matches at an average of 13.28. Regardless of getting into the final of the 1999 World Cup, Sohail believes Pakistan played like a local team, and that things could have been different had the management been a little more clever.

“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.”

As stated earlier, Aamir Sohail was not a fan of Pakistan opting to take the crease first after winning the toss. The Australian bowling attack, led by Glenn McGrath’s 2/13 in nine overs and Shane Warne’s 4/33 bundled out Pakistan for just 132, before Australian chased it down in just the 21st over to be crowned World Champions for a second time.

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First published: 23 July 2020, 10:53 IST