ISLAMABAD    -   Test-discard fast bowler Umar Gul has said that lack of planning and preparations were the key reasons behind Pakistan team’s ouster from the ICC World Cup 2019.

Talking to The Nation, Gul, who is working hard in nets and ready to serve the country again, said: “Every cricket-playing nation were fully prepared for the mega event while their squads were well-balanced but Pakistan team management was sleeping and neither justified their role (in planning) nor selected the best playing XI for every match of the World Cup. Pakistan squad wasn’t such a weak as compared to some other teams but the poor team selection was main reason behind its downfall.”

He asked what was the purpose of dropping third in-form opener Abid Ali, who had scored a ton in his very first international match against the mighty Aussies? “Abid had shown the potential and without any reason, he was not considered for the World Cup. Pakistan team entered with only two specialist openers and everyone had witnessed how much we suffered. Had the selectors paid heed towards inclusion of third regular opener, or utilised Hafeez as opener, the team performance could have been far better.

“I fail to understand why Hafeez is used as a middle order batsman. To whom the PCB and team management was trying to shield and what was the purpose of dropping in-form Haris Sohail form the initial world cup matches, despite his superb century against Australia in the UAE One-Day series. Why Hussnain was picked so early in his career and why a major strike bowler like Usman Shinwari, who had taken 28 wickets, only behind Hassan Ali in the domestic cricket, wasn’t picked up for the mega event,” he raised a series of questions.

He added: “Same happened with Shadab Khan, who is a class act, as the PCB and team management were claiming Shadab will be fit before the world cup and then why he was not drafted straight into the team. Why he was not considered in crunch matches. Same happened with Hassan Ali, who recently grabbed headlines with his match-winning performances. Asif Ali, as we all know, is a known hitter of white ball, same like Glen Maxwell for Australia, who is not amongst the runs. When Shoaib Malik was not scoring runs, nether taking wickets, then he should have been replaced with Asif.”

The pacer said: “I can only laugh at so-called pundits and all those who raised question marks at Imad Wasim’s inclusion. PCB gave him leverage in fitness tests because they were aware that Imad can bowl full quota of overs. Against Afghanistan, Imad proved his worth and shut all those critics mouths with his sensational match-winning performance. While Haris Sohail also batted with authority and scored crucial runs.

“Now World Cup is over and once again PCB and selectors will make tall claims and start giving statements that we will prepare team for the next four years keeping in mind 2023 World Cup, but in reality, they will do nothing. Now we have four years and we must start work on preparing team, which should win major tournaments and it can only be done through proper planning and by putting faith in youngsters and giving respect to the seniors,” Gul concluded.