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Pakistan’s T20 World Cup Exit Sparks Outrage Over Team Discord and Biased Selection

Pakistan’s former cricket stars and the media have pointed fingers at internal discord and biased selection as the main reasons for the team’s shocking first-round exit from the Twenty20 World Cup. The 2009 champions were eliminated in the earliest-ever exit from a T20 World Cup for Pakistan, following the abandonment of the USA-Ireland match due to rain.

The team’s downfall began with a surprising defeat to newcomers USA, followed by a loss to arch-rivals India. Pakistan managed only one victory against Canada. This led to widespread criticism from fans and experts alike.

“Pakistani players think that if they don’t perform well, the coaches will be sacked, and nothing will happen to them,” former captain Wasim Akram said during a broadcast after the loss to India. “It is time to keep the coaches and change the entire team.”

Throughout the tournament, the squad was plagued by allegations of internal discord and favoritism in player selection. Critics accused the team’s management of not picking the right players for the World Cup, citing meritless inclusions.

Former player Kamran Akmal highlighted that Shadab Khan’s selection was influenced by his close relationship with captain Babar Azam, leading to the exclusion of leg-spinner Usama Mir, the top wicket-taker in this year’s Pakistan Super League. “When you select players based on friendship, you’ll get these results,” Akmal told AFP. “Mir should have been in the squad… That was a big injustice.”

Poor administrative and selection decisions were also blamed for the team’s inability to progress. Reports of discord over player swaps disrupted Pakistan’s preparations, resulting in a loss to Ireland, a 2-0 defeat to England, and a 2-2 draw against a depleted New Zealand.

“I am disgusted and will not watch the World Cup anymore,” said Mohammad Asim, a disheartened fan. “The team selection was biased and based on friendship.”

Calls for a major overhaul have intensified, with Pakistan due to host next year’s Champions Trophy. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi indicated imminent changes. “Pakistan team needs a major surgery,” he told local media after the India defeat. “We must endeavor to make the Pakistani cricket team one of the best in the world. The nation does not expect such a disappointing performance.”

Former captain Rashid Latif emphasized that the PCB and its governing body also need to be held accountable. “Before we shift the blame to the players, first the PCB and its governing body need to be sacked,” Latif wrote on social media platform X. “These are the people responsible for selecting the players. Heads must roll, but would they?”

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