Shoaib Malik has lambasted “unacquainted decision-makers” after a humiliating defeat by Zimbabwe in the second T20I at Harare Sports Club on Friday.

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Pakistan’s struggles with the middle-order were laid bare in Harare as the team slumped to a 19-run defeat, with Zimbabwe bowling them out for 99. Wobbles in the middle order have been a worry for much of Pakistan’s tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe, but the side had, by and large, escaped paying for it until now.


Pakistan captain Babar Azam was sufficiently alarmed by Pakistan’s showing with the bat to warn solutions had to be found swiftly, with time running out before this year’s T20 World Cup.

Taking to Twitter, Malik thrashed the management, saying: “Unacquainted decision makers need to take a step back; Babar and Chief Selector [Mohammad Wasim] need to call the shots. In my opinion, we need an international white-ball coach who understands cricket inside out and grooms our captain whilst giving clarity to our players for coming time.”

The cricketer further said: “When your management relies on likes and dislikes especially when your cricket is just in surviving mode, then what else do expect as a nation?”

“On top of that when you don’t let your captain take decisions this is bound to happen,” he added.

In the post-match presentation ceremony, Azam said: “It’s a very painful performance. In South Africa, we had chased down 200; similarly here, we should have won this game comfortably. But unfortunately, we played poor cricket and continued to struggle in the middle order. Today, it was not just the middle order, but our batsmen right through couldn’t perform the way we expect them to. It was a collective collapse and we lost as a group. But credit to Zimbabwe who came back so strongly today.”

Azam refused to make excuses for the defeat. “The wicket was similar to the other day but it was suitable [for batters] and that is not an excuse anyway. As a professional, you adapt to every condition but I think we as openers didn’t give a good start from the top and then our middle order was struggling to step up. The World T20 is closing in and we have to sort this out as soon as possible. The next game we will come back and make a good combination.”

Meanwhile, there has been no official reaction from the PCB to Malik’s tweets yet, but as the fallout from Pakistan’s defeat grows, there are signs a man who made his debut in 1999 may yet be relevant to them in 2021.

Zimbabwe beat Pakistan for the first time in T20I cricket in their 16th attempt, registering their first T20I win at home since 2016. The three-match series is currently level at 1-1, with the final game being played on Sunday.

While Pakistan former speedster Shoaib Akhtar said: “Vulnerability of middle order badly exposed. Batsmen couldn’t tackle slow wicket. Embarrasing defeat. Have to come back stronger in the 3rd match.”

Earlier, former captain of the Pakistan cricket team Shahid Afridi had also raised the middle-order crisis in Pakistan Cricket Team.

While congratulating the Pakistani team on winning the T20I against South Africa, he emphasised the need to work on middle-order performances.

“Despite the victory, we need to review the middle-order performances where we seem to be struggling for a long time,” wrote the former all-rounder on Twitter.

He also suggested that since it is the T20 World Cup year, the team should consider bringing Malik back.