In a surprising turn of events that unfolded at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, Afghanistan achieved their first-ever victory in a One Day International (ODI) against Pakistan. The dramatic eight-wicket loss left Pakistan’s cricketing community and fans in disbelief, and it triggered a passionate response from former fast-bowling legend Wasim Akram.
Afghanistan’s fearless and confident approach was in stark contrast to Pakistan’s lackluster performance. The Afghan team displayed composure in all aspects of the game, while Pakistan seemed demoralized after suffering consecutive losses to India and Australia. The lack of intent was evident, with both bowlers failing to impress and fielders making numerous errors.
During an interview on A Sports, Wasim Akram expressed his disappointment, with a particular focus on the fitness levels of the players.
“It was an embarrassing display today. They [Afghanistan] chased down 280-290 with eight wickets in hand, which is a remarkable achievement. They completely neutralized the pitch factor. And if you look at the fitness levels of our players,”
He also addressed a pressing issue that has been a concern in Pakistan’s cricketing scene.
“For the past three weeks, we’ve been pointing out that they haven’t undergone fitness assessments in the last two years. Should I name names individually? It appears their faces are getting rounder. It’s as if they consume eight kilograms of nihari (a rich meat dish) every day,”
Akram emphasized, underlining the urgent need for improved fitness standards.
The cricketing legend stressed the importance of fitness for professional cricketers representing their country on the international stage. Akram advocated for fitness tests and specific criteria to ensure that players meet the required fitness standards.
“There should be a well-defined testing system in place. These players are professionals who are being paid to represent their country, and there must be specific criteria in place. I support Misbah in this regard; he had such criteria when he was the coach. The players may not have liked it, but it produced results,”
Akram concluded, emphasizing the significance of maintaining high fitness standards for Pakistan’s cricketing future.
The unexpected defeat against Afghanistan has sparked discussions and criticisms about Pakistan’s team performance, leading to calls for a renewed focus on fitness and professionalism in the sport.