In the 1999 ODI World Cup in England, Pakistan’s brilliant run in the tournament was curtailed by the eventual winner of the tournament, Australia, in the final of the competition.
Now, former Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail has lamented the loss which created quite a stir in the country a couple of decades back.
“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.
Sohail then criticised Wasim Akram’s move to pair Shahid Afridi alongside legendary opener, Saeed Anwar.
During his criticism, Sohail claimed Afridi received backing from Akram even though he could neither ‘bat or bowl’.
“Unfortunately, you opted for Shahid Afridi, he had the 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,” Sohail added.
“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,” the commentator lamented.
Further, Sohail explained how Akram erred in his decision to bat first on a juicy Lord’s pitch at overhead conditions.
“Before the World Cup final, there were reports that it had rained a lot in London. As it is, there is a slope at Lord’s due to which the ball does something all the time,” Sohail said. “Salim Malik told me that he had requested Wasim Akram not to bat first after winning the toss else we would be in great difficulty. We should not have exposed our batsmen on a difficult pitch against a confident Australian bowling line-up,” Sohail concluded.