New Delhi: Former cricketer and ex-PCB chief Ramiz Raja slammed Pakistan for not rising to the occasion and giving India a tough competition in a highly-anticipated 2023 World Cup match after their crushing 7-wicket loss against Men-in-Blue at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Pakistan looked on track to set India a challenging target as they cruised to 155-2, before a shocking batting implosion, losing eight wickets for just 36 runs in 13 overs, that had them all out for 191 on Saturday.
This was Pakistan’s worst collapse for the last eight wickets in their history of playing in the Men’s ODI World Cup.
In response, India skipper Rohit Sharma (86) then led the way as the hosts brushed aside the Pakistan attack to clinch an emphatic victory with almost 20 overs to spare.
Speaking on the latest episode of The ICC Review podcast, Raja blasted Pakistan while revealing concern for what the loss could mean for his former side’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign.
“This should hurt Pakistan because they weren’t able to compete,” Ramiz said on the latest episode of The ICC Review podcast.
“When you’re playing against India obviously it’s such an environment where it’s 99 per cent India fans and crowds, you’re obviously overwhelmed. I understand all of that.
“But Babar Azam has led this side for a good four or five years, so you’ve got to rise to the occasion. If you can’t win, then at least compete. Pakistan weren’t able to do that,” Raja was quoted by ICC website.
Pakistan came into Saturday’s match after registering wins over Netherlands and Sri Lanka in their opening two matches of the World Cup campaign as they fine-tuned for the crunch clash with India.
But Saturday’s loss signifies that Pakistan has been unable to secure a victory against their rivals in all eight of their Cricket World Cup encounters, dating back to their initial clash in the tournament in 1992.
The 61-year-old believes that Pakistan are weighed down by the horrific record against India but remains hopeful for a turnaround if they meet again in the tournament’s crucial stages.
“It’s a reality and Pakistan have got to do something about it, They can’t be termed as ‘chokers’ against India because that’s not a great tag to have. Somehow it’s a mental block, it’s a skill block as well.
“Credit to India for maintaining their presence in World Cup competitions against Pakistan, it’s not an easy match for India also because there are emotions involved, there are expectations involved.
“Then you’re supposed to win because it has been happening for so many years that this can get you under a little bit of extra pressure. But they’ve handled it so well.
The former cricketer also pinpointed what Pakistan need to do to learn from the bitter defeat to India and then quickly turn their focus toward their remaining matches.
“It’s going to hurt them. It’s a scarring, it’s a pasting, it’s a battering and they’ve been outpaced and outplayed in all the three departments. Babar Azam and the senior players will have to rally around some of the young kids and have got to find an answer.
They’ve got to be brutally honest in those team meetings. I think that is where Pakistan need to start. On the drawing board saying that our spin has been struggling, we shouldn’t get out after scoring 50 or a 49, and what were the tailenders doing?” he added.
With three wins in three games, India are on top of the table while Pakistan, with two early victories, are well-placed at fourth as they eye a critical top-four finish to secure a semifinal berth.