Karachi, Mar 1: After criticising Misbah-ul-haq severely in the recent past, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar today took a U-turn, saying the captain was the person who was keeping the team alive and he needs support from other batsmen.
Akhtar had called Misbah a selfish and coward captain but after Pakistan's first win in the World Cup over Zimbabwe, a mellowed down Akhtar dramatically changed his tune about the team, PCB and Misbah.
"Misbah needs the support of other players he can't carry the burden all the time," said Akhtar. On the PCB, Akhtar's views also appeared to have changed as he said Chairman, Shaharyar Khan and his predecessor Najam Sethi were seasoned people and were doing a good job.
Not only Akhtar but some other former players have also been strong critics of Misbah and the PCB notably Muhammad Yousuf. But clearly the message sent out by Misbah before the match against Zimbabwe and also the scolding by former great, Wasim Akram appears to have had its effect on Akhtar and others.
Misbah had said prior to the Zimbabwe match that some critics and former players needed to watch their language while making comments about him or the team.
"They are people who making insulting and personal comments about me and the team and I dont think that is gracious. They can criticize if we dont perform well but I get this feeling some of them have their own issues to deal with," he had said.
Wasim Akram also lashed out at critics pointing out that he was disappointed to see some of the language being used against Misbah and the team and board.
"It is not a good thing for Pakistan cricket. This team needs support right now and we must back it not just criticize and say things to gain a few seconds recognition in the media," he said.
Pakistans former test batsman and coach, Mudassar Nazar who is the batting coach of the UAE team in the World Cup also felt some of the critics and former players were just looking for jobs. He hit out at Akhtar in particular.
"I think Shoaib is merely exaggerating the problems in Pakistan cricket. Yes, they have not played well in this World Cup and there are issues but the way he is going out there and saying things about the captain and players is not right," Mudassar told reporters in Perth.
Akhtar on Sunday while hailing the win over Zimbabwe had a new Mantra about his comments on air.
"I support Pakistan cricket and I will support this team as long as they fight and win or lose. But if they dont perform well I will criticize them as it is nothing personal against anyone but for betterment of Pakistan cricket," he said.