ICC Champions Trophy 2013: Shahid Afridi's omission a blunder, says Navjot Singh Sidhu

Navjot Singh Sidhu felt that Pakistan dearly missed the services of Shahid Afridi (above) in their batting line-up © Getty Images

Karachi: Jun 16, 2013

Former Indian opener Navjot Singh Sidhu has called the omitting Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 as a ”huge blunder”, saying that Afridi’s absence had a big part in Pakistan’s dismal show in the tournament, which ended after a thrashing at the hands of India in Birmingham.

According to The Dawn, Sidhu said, “Omitting Afridi was a huge blunder by Pakistan,” Sidhu told Dawn.com. “He’s a world-class player. He wasn’t in form but big tournaments like these bring out the best in big players. By leaving him out, Pakistan handed half the advantage to the opposition even before taking the field.”

Sidhu further said that Afridi would have come in handy as Pakistan was missing an all-rounder as well as someone with the ability to use the long handle lower down in the order.

“You could just tell by looking at the way Pakistan batted that they weren’t confident at all. They were hesitant and quite defensive. Quite poor to be honest. Inexperience was not the only reason as the seniors failed to put up a show at all and it was very disturbing to watch them play the way they did. They’re also missing an all-rounder and these are important issues the board and selectors need to address quite quickly.”

However, Sidhu gave his approval to Pakistan’s bowling line-up, especially a ”rejuvenated” Wahab Riaz, saying that although he was also impressed with Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal, Wahab’s speed and ability to move the ball has made him an interesting bowler to look at.

Stating that the Indo-Pakistan clash did not live up to its pre-tournament hype because there was not enough at stake.

“As for the match, it wasn’t one of those usually exciting and electrifying India-Pakistan matches and I just hope that Pakistan batsmen had done enough for the team to have been in the competition on the eve of this match. That way we might’ve seen a better game with perhaps elimination or progress riding on the outcome.”

(With inputs from ANI)