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Mohammad Zahid calls Pakistan limited overs performance 'horrific'

Mohammad Zahid calls Pakistan limited overs performance 'horrific'
The slump in form of Junaid Khan has hampered Pakistan the most in limited overs cricket.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Zahid has termed the performance of the national team in the limited overs internationals as "horrific" after the recent losses to England.

After winning the Test series 2-0 Pakistan were comprehensively beaten by England in the One-Day International and the Twenty20 International series.

Zahid admitted that it was pleasing to see Pakistan win the Test series 2-0 after bouncing back from a close draw in the first match in Abu Dhabi.

“Let's start on a positive note,” Zahid told PakPassion.net in an exclusive interview.

“How good was it to see Pakistan defeat England 2-0 in the Test series?

“The Pakistan Test team has really forged itself into a formidable unit in UAE and the stability within the team is fantastic to watch.

“The top six knows it's role and once the runs are on the board then the bowlers particularly Yasir Shah know what to do and what is expected of them.

“The scare in the first Test really brought the best out of Pakistan in the remaining Tests and the whole unit deserve a lot of credit for their recent record and performances.” 

Pakistan started the ODI series on a positive note by winning the first game in Abu Dhabi by six wickets but lost three consecutive matches while England claimed a 3-1 victory.

After winning the first two matches of the T20I series England went on to complete a thrilling victory in the one-over eliminator of the final game to claim a 3-0 clean sweep against Pakistan.

Stating that the Pakistan cricketers are well experienced in the shorter formats, Zahid found no excuse for the poor performance against England.

Another issue that has bewildered Zahid is the inability of the current Pakistan bowlers to bowl at pace and hit the yorker lengths regularly.

“Historically our fast bowlers have relied on reverse-swing, pace and yorkers.

“I look at our limited overs team and apart from Wahab Riaz I don't see any pace or any yorkers from them.

“Opposition batsmen must be thinking that it's their lucky day when they see the medium pacers we are playing in our current twenty over and fifty over teams, jogging up to the wicket and bowling friendly half-volleys or half-trackers.

“You cannot win matches on flat decks with medium pacers who cannot bowl quick and cannot bowl yorkers.” 

Junaid Khan is one of the Pakistan bowlers who made a mark for himself with his pace and the ability to swing the ball consistently.

Khan took 52 wickets from 28 ODIs in 2013 but has seen a drastic downward spiral in his form having accounted for just five more wickets from 10 matches over the next two years.

Hoping that the issues behind Khan’s lack of form resolve very soon, Zahid urged the 25-year-old to bounce back from the lengthy slump in form.

“It breaks my heart to see what has happened to Junaid Khan.

“Here was a bowler who was world-class and could bowl with real pace, had skill and could swing and seam the ball.

“These days he looks a shadow of the bowler we once saw.

“My advice to Junaid is to stand up, get back on your feet and lift yourself and raise your performances once again.

“Whatever is going on behind the scenes is resulting in Junaid's career being ruined.” 

Mohammad Amir's return is another hotly debated topic in Pakistan cricket with various current and former players echoing different views.

In the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League Amir has so far played seven games and has picked nine wickets at an average of 15.22 for Chittagong Vikings.

Despite the mixed reactions to Amir's return, Zahid is hoping that the 23-year-old can make a comeback to the Pakistan side.

“I think it's fantastic to see Amir back playing cricket once again.

“What has really impressed me has been the way he has bounced back after five years.
“It's almost like he has never been away from cricket.

“So far he's stood up to the challenge and to the doubters who thought he wouldn't play top level cricket again.

“It will have been mentally tough for him and a huge challenge but he's impressed me very much in domestic cricket in Pakistan and also at the Bangladesh Premier League.

“There will be tougher challenges ahead from him and the road back to being one of the finest bowling talents once again will be a long one, but all the signs are promising and I look forward to seeing him in a Pakistan shirt soon.” 

Pakistan's next limited overs assignment is against New Zealand in January where they will play three ODIs and T20Is in January 2016.

© Cricket World 2015