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NZ thrashing could lead Pak to self-destruction: Imran

Imran Khan of Pakistan gestures during a promotional function of a telecom company in Mumbai.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup winning captain Imran Khan fears that their crushing Group A defeat against New Zealand on Tuesday could lead to the team self-destructing in this year’s tournament.

Here are his thoughts:

What should captain Shahid Afridi do now after this 110-run defeat?
“I just hope that they don’t press the panic button. If they panic they will destruct and their World Cup campaign will be in tatters. You could see the players were nervous and tense. They need to recover quickly.”

So what went wrong?
“I say it is good that this defeat has come at this stage of the tournament. The management must now rethink their team combinations and define new roles for the players. The batting order has also been wrong. You can’t have your two best players, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, batting low down the order.”

How big a setback is it?

“We shouldn’t panic. The format is such we have made the quarter-finals and it is the knockout matches that will matter.

The team must now start preparing for the quarter-final.”

Should wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, who twice missed match-winner Ross Taylor early in his innings, be dropped now?
“There is no other choice right now so the management must persist with Kamran, make him train hard and shore up his confidence. Any more experiments will only trigger more trouble.”