Pakistan players are mentally disturbed: Shoaib Akhtar
Continuing his attack on the country's cricket set-up, Pakistan's former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has described most of the members in the national team as "mentally disturbed".
"Most of the players do not perform on the field, why? Because they're mentally disturbed. They have a lot fears; take those fears away, that is the coach's job, it is not to teach the game," Akhtar said.
He said that Pakistan cricket is currently going through its "darkest era".
In a scathing attack, in the aftermath of the side's disappointing performance at the Champions Trophy, Akhtar blamed poor coaching for the side's batting woes.
He said the Pakistan team needs a new coach, who can "unite the players in the dressing room".
"I think this is the darkest era of our cricket and I think if we need to take positives from the Champions Trophy we should learn from South Africa who survived isolation in the apartheid era and have emerged as a top team in the world," he said.
"Pakistan needs to learn from them because we are also in a similar position as there is no international team coming to Pakistan since 2009. But we are still in a better position than them in the sense that we are still playing our matches at neutral venues," he was quoted as saying by 'Express Tribune'.
He said that the fact that Pakistan have been bowled out without playing the full 50 overs in seven of their last 12 ODIs is a discouraging sign.
Akhtar, however, defended captain Misbah-ul-Haq who has come under fire for his slow batting and captaincy. He said Misbah can't be blamed because no one is doing consistently well in the team's batting line-up. "He has no choice but to adopt a conservative and safety-first approach due to the poor performance of his colleagues."
The former speedster said Pakistan's batting woes were a result of poor coaching at the grass-root levels. "Pakistan has always been able to produce some of the world's greatest players. The greatest, however, have not coached the under-19 and the under-16 teams where they can be matured as a batsman. "By those ages you should have maturity as a batsman. The best age is 15, if you tell them how to play the game and rotate the strike, that's where real coaching comes into play. I would say that there is a huge gap in that area."
Akhtar also suggested Tom Moody's name as a possible solution to Pakistan's ongoing problems. "Pakistan should go for Tom Moody, he is the only man who can bring the match-winning attitude into the team. He is fantastic, rugged, brilliant manager, brilliant motivator and accommodator and he knows how to handle guys."
Akhtar also lashed out at national team's wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. "Kamran should be dropped for the match (against India) and the management must play an extra batsman who can also keep. I think Asad Shafiq should be given a chance," he told 'Geo News'.
"Everyone knows the sort of keeping that Kamran Akmal does. I think I can also keep like this," he said. "The unfortunate part is that for the last 10 years Pakistan has been looking for a good keeper who can also bat well," he said.