Fans of the Pakistani cricket team were left emotionally decimated after India thrashed the men in green for the seventh time at the World Cup on Sunday at Old Trafford. Reactions ranged from measured criticism to rash dismissal, from passionate rants to a complete sense of bagavat. Tears were spilled, and humour took dark and unexpected turns.
The outcry came from all quarters, as simpletons and veterans alike, collectively expressed their disappointment. One such livid fan was Pakistans’ very own Rawalpaindi Express, fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the name, would know that the fiery cricketer is known for often breathing fire mercilessly at his team in times of dismal display of sportsmanship.
Akhtar, being true to his form, slammed the cricketers for their listless performance against India that has sent the team crashing down at ninth on the table.
In a video, the fast bowler turned into a living embodiment of perhaps all the possible emotions that Pakistani fans are made of at the moment.
While there was hardly anyone from the team who escaped Akhtar’s ire, the fiery pacer was particularly unforgiving on Hasan Ali, who for him turned out to be a damp squib. “Hasan Ali goes to Wagah Border and jumps around to show off his energy but why can he not display the same energy for Pakistan in the World Cup?” he said.
He was referring to the last year’s incident during the flag-lowering ceremony at the Attari-Wagah Border, when Hasan Ali had walked into the drill and performed his signature wicket-taking gesture towards the Indian armed force.
The Pakistani cricketer dubbed the defeat as karma. “Pakistan repeated the same mistakes that India made during the ICC World’s Championship of 2017 and has become the victim of karma,” he said.
His bitter but extremely nuanced, albeit replete with sarcasm analysis of the game, was exceptionally critical of captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who he dubbed as “unfit”, further slamming him for not just his ‘un’-fitness levels (read: his weight) but also his apparent lack of intent in the marquee encounter.
Coming down heavily on Ahmed’s decision-making, Akhtar accused the “brainless” captain of failing to realize the most important bit, the key: that Pakistan’s strength lies in its bowling.
“The match was half-won when Pakistan won the toss. But no, Ahmed sends one dimensional players to the field, there is no pace no swing nothing – and the next thing we know – we are losing a match which was in our favour to begin with,” he vented.
He repeatedly referred to Pakistan's match against India in 99', which they lost. According to Akhtar, Pakistan at least managed to put up a modicum of fight that day, but in Sunday’s game, they let India easily trample their way ahead in the game.
Akhtar pointed out several critical lacunae in Pakistan's approach and overall he believed that Pakistan lost the game owing to poor decision making of the boys. In his scathing words, "brainless captaincy and clueless managament," to summarise. He also questioned Mickey Arthur's role and said that the South African is not bringing anything substantial to the table.
You can watch the full video here: