Pakistan suffered a massive defeat at the hands of hosts England in the first ODI, where the latter fielded five debutants. After the match skipper Babar Azam said that the loss was not a massive setback, and it has drawn massive criticism from former pacer Shoaib Akhtar. “It is all lame excuses. There was nothing on the wicket like extraordinary bounce. A little seam movement is expected in England. If you can’t handle that seam, then what will you do,” Akhtar said on PTV Sports when he was asked about Azam’s comments.
“It’s not such a massive setback, per se. Of course, there are bad days and there are good days. We have been playing the past few series fairly well. I will sit with them and have a talk. I’ll tell them that don’t lose your nerves and that ups and downs are part of life."
“The sooner we do that, the better it will be for us, as a team," Azam, who was dismissed for a duck, had said.
Meanwhile, Saqib Mahmood marked his return to England duty with a four-wicket haul as the completely changed hosts put their Covid-19 problems behind them with an emphatic nine-wicket win over Pakistan in the first one-day international at Cardiff on Thursday.
Player of the match Mahmood took an ODI best 4-42 as Pakistan were skittled out for just 141 with more than 14 overs left to bat.England, the reigning 50-over world champions, finished on 142-1 to go 1-0 up in a three-match series ahead of Saturday’s clash at Lord’s. Dawid Malan was 68 not out after a run-ball fifty.
Together with Test batsman Zak Crawley (58 not out), one of five ODI debutants in the England team, he shared an unbroken stand of 120 as a match scheduled for 100 overs finished in a mere 67.1 England were fielding a completely changed XI from their previous ODI — the first time this had happened to any side in the 50-year history of the format — after a Covid-19 outbreak within their existing squad during a recent 2-0 series win at home to Sri Lanka required all 16 players originally selected to play against Pakistan to self-isolate.