The Indians started well but the fact is that with a huge total to chase © Getty Images
The Indians started well but the fact is that with a huge total to chase © Getty Images

Former Pakistan batsman and head hoach at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Academy, Mudassar Nazar, spoke to about Pakistan’s disappointing ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign, the importance of playing five specialist bowlers, India‘s loss to Australia in the semi-final at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and his views on the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand, as they prepare to meet in the final of the 2015 World Cup.


The Australia vs India semi-final

I believe it was a fair result. But one has to say that India looked in terrific form. Their bowlers bowled sharp and were ably lead by MS Dhoni, who looked like a completely different kind of a leader. Unfortunately for India, they came up against Australia and lost. I do feel that had India met New Zealand in the semi-final, they would have had a better chance of moving to the final. Australia, had an advantage over India in the fact that India are yet to win a single game against them in the four months leading to the World Cup. One could say that the law of averages could have come into play against Australia but their batting depth is incredible. In the semi-final, with Brad Haddin struggling in the final two overs, Mitchell Johnson came in and smacked the bowlers left, right and centre. That gave an impetus to the Australian team which they took with them on a high note into the Indian innings. The Indians started well but the fact is that with a huge total to chase, the loss of one or two wickets puts you back to square one. Also, Johnson took two important wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli which hit the Indians very hard. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

Pakistan did well to reach the quarter-final: Pakistan did what was expected of them. The media in Pakistan seem to want a bit more from this team, they were possibly expecting a miracle. However, if one was to look at the composition of the team, it was clear that the team was bereft of senior bowlers. With that handicap, it was difficult to compete with the top teams of the world including South Africa and Australia. Given all these issues, Pakistan did really well although quite frankly, they were destined to reach the quarter-final due to the 2015 World Cup format, and presence of associate teams in the group. If Pakistan had then, somehow, beaten Australia then that would have been nothing short of an upset.

The quarter-final against Australia:  As they say, hope is eternal! One would have hoped that a miracle could have happened in that game in the shape of a gem of an innings by Misbah-ul-Haq, or Ahmed Shehzad might have played above and beyond what was expected of him or, Younis Khan would have somehow played an important role despite his loss of form. Let’s be honest, there aren’t any match winners in the Pakistan team. Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

So once again, when you look at the Pakistan cricket team and search for someone who will play an exceptional innings, you tend to look at Misbah, who seems to take his time to get going. In a way the state of Pakistan batting meant that Misbah did have the luxury of time to entrench himself and play a long innings with acceleration at the end. In this game against Australia, I thought he was playing very aggressively in trying to come out of his shell and collecting runs very early on. His captaincy was very good and he did come out fighting when the chips were down for Pakistan. In terms of bowling, Wahab Riaz bowled a fantastic spell but he did not have the support of our gentle giant in the shape of Mohammad Irfan. There was no enough penetration in the attack and Shane Watson and others were able to weather the storm and overcome a modest target set by Pakistan.


The importance of playing five bowlers:

One can dwell on about Wahab’s bowling but overall Pakistan’s bowling was pretty good. What was encouraging was to see Pakistan playing five bowlers at a time when all seemed lost in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Of course, the bowlers we had to play with were forced on us by injuries but regardless, it was good to see us playing with specialists. Top 10 bowlers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Contrast that with South Africa against New Zealand, where they suffered heavily when their main bowler got hammered and they had to turn to their part-time bowling options, which isn’t ideal. Suddenly the floodgates opened up and the game got away from South Africa. However, as I said, it was encouraging to see that Pakistan played with five bowlers.

This is similar to the time when Imran Khan was captain and where I was the sixth bowler. Often I would end up bowling my ten over quota before the main bowlers could finish their allocation. But then we had the likes of Wasim Akram, who could bat a bit and Imran who was an accomplished all-rounder, which is a luxury which Pakistan does not have today. Top 10 wicketkeepers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The next One-Day International (ODI) captain for Pakistan: I don’t see the need for so much fuss about the next captain of Pakistan when we have important issues at hand that need resolution. For instance, why not talk about the lack of bench strength or the fact that newer players are not coming through? The problem in Pakistan is that when we lose, we tend to look for an easy solution like replacing a captain when we should be looking a little deeper into these problems.

How are the academies doing and why aren’t they producing the next Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim or Waqar Younis? The academies need to do more for Pakistan cricket. We keep on wondering why the team is not good enough, but don’t ask about the underlying reasons for this malaise. Yes, we have to choose a new captain for the ODI side but really what we should be spending our energies on is thinking about the composition of the team and looking to fill all the gaps. Top 10 fielders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015


Prediction for the 2015 World Cup winner

A very tough call indeed! Both teams are in great form and have equipped and prepared really well for this tournament. New Zealand have a terrific captain in Brendon McCullum. He leads by example and the team believes in him. In contrast, Australia has a captain who is not in the best of form and there are better ODI players than him in the county.

However, Australia have the firepower and more importantly, they will be playing in front of their home crowd at Melbourne. Unlike SCG, where there were many more Indians in the crowd, there should be a very big home support and the Kiwi supporters will be outnumbered there. So who will win on March 29? Well, any one of these teams can win on the day so no clear favourites here. The rivalry between the two nations is comparable to that between India and Pakistan and when these two teams go at each other, it’s a different ball game altogether. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

(Amir Husain is Senior Editor at The above article is reproduced with permission from