LAHORE - The one-day series defeat against an under-strength Australia in the UAE has drawn sharp criticism from former players and officials. They lamented the team selection, pitches and lavish spending of the PCB on government dignitaries amid financial crunch. Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said he would hold chief curator Agha Zahid, team coach Intikhab Alam and assistant coach Aaqib Javed responsible for the preparation of poor quality pitches for the five one-day games that produced low scoring matches and saw Australia clinch the series 3-2. "Someone should ask these people what was logic behind preparing such poor pitches when they were sent to Dubai and Abu Dhabi," Ahmed said. Salahuddin Sallu defended captain Younis Khan but criticised the poor batting of the other players. He further said that the PCB should immediately take the ICL players in the team. "Its is surprising that the same people who were talking about the ICL players selection are now when holding the PCB office not taking them back," he added. Former Test captain Moin Khan said he was surprised at some aspects of the team selection and wondered why pace bowler Umar Gul was dropped for the crucial fourth one-day international. "I also can't understand why they didn't play an in-form player like Fawad Alam in the series when the batting was not clicking." Reports suggested that Yasser Arafat was preferred over Fawad on the insistence of one of the governing members who was in UAE during the series. Moin said that Pakistan team had performed below par and disappointed its fans despite claims before the series that the team could win the series. Former Test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq also made it clear that Pakistan had lost a golden opportunity to beat a weakened Australian team in near home conditions. Media has also reported on Monday that some board members interfered in the team selection leading to the continued selection of pacer Yasir Arafat for three consecutive matches in which he didn't take a single wicket. "The Australian side we played in 2005 and the one in the 2007 World Cup were far stronger than the one playing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. That is why I am disappointed we did not defeat them in the series," he said. The former captain, who played 378 one-day internationals and 120 Tests before retiring in 2007, said Pakistan squandered a good opportunity to beat the Australians. "On paper we were a better and stronger side than them and we should have defeated them. But I think the Australians got to us with their better planning and application on pitches on which we are more used to playing. "I am surprised because Australia lost to India and South Africa before this series even with Ricky Ponting and their other leading players who are not playing in this series," he added. Inzamam said there was lack of focus and application from the batsmen and felt that captain Younis Khan needed to lead with example. "I think the batting more than the bowling let us down. I don't see any indications there are problems within the team and Younis is a good captain. I remain hopeful things will get better and they will learn a lot from this series," Inzamam said. He said Pakistan need to prepare a new cricket strategy and think about giving some of the Indian cricket League players a chance to play for the country again. "If some of the ICL players return it will strengthen the team and we will have a good chance of winning the Twenty20 World Cup." He pointed out that the team management needed to do some research on why none of the Pakistani batsmen had got going against Australia even on slow pitches. "None of our batsmen achieved a respectable average in the series. In contrast Australian captain, Michael Clarke has led well and also batted with responsibility and has an average of 106 in the series," he stated. Former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said he was shocked at the repeated statements of captain Younis Khan and coach Intikhab Alam that the team was young and would learn a lot from the series. "International cricket is not played to learn from the opposition. People are fed up of these excuses because our team was far more experienced than the Australians who blooded several new players. So what is this excuse of Pakistan having a young team?" Nawaz said. The former bowler said no one could say that Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar or Sohail Tanvir were inexperienced. "I think the combined matches played by Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Akmal is far greater than the combined total of the Australian team," he added. Nawaz said it was time that Board Chairman Ejaz Butt rose above petty politics and gave former great Javed Miandad more responsibility and authority in the Board. "Why is a great cricket brain like Miandad being sidelined. He is the right man to lift the performances of this team," he said. At the same time questions are being asked over why the Board spent over 20 million rupees on just inviting government dignitaries and their families and governing council members to the Emirates for the matches. "When it was obvious that we are going to earn little from this series why waste funds which can easily be used for more beneficial purposes," former Chief Executive Arif Abbasi said. They are also questions being asked as to why were special cash awards announced for Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal for taking six wickets in the first match and scoring a century in the final match when overall the team had fared so poorly. "The central contracts the Board has with the players has clauses for awarding special cash bonuses to players who give outstanding individual performances. So if these awards were given as part of the contracts what is the need to announce them and make us the laughing stock at a time when we have lost a series we should have won," another former Board official said. AFP adds: "Pakistan cricket has been reeling from problem after problem. Had the team won the series, it would have been a great boost to the game in the country, sadly we lost that chance," said former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram. Wasim was critical of Pakistan's decision to rest frontline paceman Umar Gul for the pivotal fourth game. "I fail to understand why you rest your on-form bowler," said Wasim, himself a great left-arm paceman. "Pakistan was 2-1 behind, not in front, and only a winning team can afford to have a rotation policy," he said. Wasim believes Younis Khan's elevation to the captaincy had blunted his batting. "Younis has been taking extra pressures of captaincy and that's showing in his failures as batsman. He needs to calm down and learn from experience. "Younis made a couple of costly mistakes, he should have promoted Kamran Akmal top of the order because he has been batting well," said Wasim, adding the side needed to improve its running between the wickets. Chief selector Abdul Qadir said that with Pakistan virtually a no-go area for international cricket, the game in the country was crying out for a series win. "It was very important that we won an important series considering the situation in Pakistan, where we are having no cricket," said Qadir. Qadir said Australian captain Michael Clarke was the decisive factor. "I think in this whole series Clarke was the difference between the two teams. Clarke was out of form when the series started but he stuck to his task, took wickets whenever Australia needed them," said Qadir.