After Pakistan’s fourth successive loss in the ICC World Cup 2023, former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram voiced his concerns, highlighting a critical mistake identified in the game against South Africa in Chennai by Babar Azam.
Wasim, who led Pakistan in the 1996 and 1999 World Cups, criticized the decision to hand the 48th over to Mohammad Nawaz when South Africa required only six runs off 18 balls with just one wicket remaining. He argued that Usama Mir, acting as a concussion substitute for Shadab Khan, was performing well with two wickets and felt he should have continued instead. Wasim mentioned, ‘At that point, Usama had two overs left and was bowling better. He could have troubled the tailenders with his mystery googly or leg spin. While his initial overs were subpar, he bounced back to claim two wickets for 45 runs.’
Despite this, Wasim acknowledged that, apart from this particular mistake, Babar Azam’s leadership was generally sound. He praised Azam’s effective use of the primary bowlers to take wickets.
Wasim also lauded the Pakistani bowlers, especially Wasim Jr, who played his first World Cup match. He praised Wasim Jr’s performance and highlighted the Pakistani bowlers’ efforts in making a compelling contest.
The intense match concluded with South Africa narrowly defeating Pakistan by one wicket, marking Pakistan’s fourth consecutive defeat in the tournament. With 10 points and a robust net run rate, South Africa currently leads the World Cup points table. Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semi-finals have become uncertain, relying on other teams’ results to potentially qualify, even if they win their remaining matches.