Updated June 10th, 2024 at 15:34 IST

'They're not performing. A lot of these guys...': Gary Kirsten blasts Pakistan, minces no words

Even recently-appointed Pakistan head coach Gary Kirsten was perplexed by the team's sudden disintegration in the T20 World Cup match against India.

Gary Kirsten not happy with Pakistan team | Image:AP/ANI
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T20 World Cup 2024: After suffering a defeat to India, Pakistan are on the verge of being eliminated from the tournament after consecutive losses in New York. It was yet another case of Pakistan doing Pakistan things as the loss on Sunday was a classic case of implosion with the side going from 80/4 in the 15th over to ending at 113/7 while chasing a modest 120. Now Pakistan are in familiar territory where they have to win all matches to stand even a remote chance of qualifying. 

Even recently-appointed Pakistan head coach Gary Kirsten was perplexed by the team's sudden disintegration in the T20 World Cup match against India. Kirsten said his batters "lost the plot" after 15 overs and are under pressure after failing to perform at their best.

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IND vs PAK: Gary Kirsten not happy with Pakistan cricket team

Kirsten emphasised the significance of strike rotation, particularly on challenging surfaces like the one here. He said his team failed to follow the strategy.

"I think certainly on a pitch like that, it is really, really important to be able to rotate the strike. So, I agree with you that sometimes it's fun to watch a game like this where it's not only about hitting boundaries," Kirsten said in the post-match press conference.

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"But you also have to be able to use 120 balls really well. As I said, we did for 15 overs and then we lost the plot...we're losing too many wickets.

"As a batting unit, you can't lose as many wickets as we are losing. Players have got to take responsibility when that opportunity comes," he added.

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Pakistan were guilty of consuming 59 dot balls during the chase. Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah did the most damage with figures of 3/14 in his four overs.

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The side's next game will be at the same venue against Canada on Tuesday. It will be a virtual do-or-die encounter for the runners-up of the last edition.

"These guys are all international players and they're aware that when they're not performing at their best that there's going to be pressure put on them. That's understandable," Kirsten, who has coached the 2011 ODI World Cup-winning Indian team, said.

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"...but a lot of these guys have played a lot of T20 cricket around the world over many, many years and it's really up to them to decide how they're going to take their games forward," the South African stated.

Asked if the team lacks the ability to handle pressure, Kirsten stressed upon the importance of continual growth and adaptation in the fast-paced world of international cricket.

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"I'm having a look into the environment and looking at what the issues are. I look at these players, I've watched them play many, many years on TV and kind of getting to know them, they're fantastic guys," Kirsten, who was appointed just a few weeks before the World Cup, said.

"I mean, there's a lot of very disappointed guys in the change room now. I think for me the most important thing for every international player is that you continue growing...," he explained.

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"The game is changing pretty much every year. So, if you're not up to it and you're not improving, you're going to get found out somewhere." On what exactly was the team's strategy while chasing, Kirsten said the focus was on capitalising on loose deliveries and rotating the strike. However, he expressed disappointment over the team's loss of momentum during the crucial phase of the innings.

"...I thought we did that brilliantly for 15 overs. We kept it at a run a ball, and then we lost wickets and then we stopped scoring ones and then we were looking for boundaries and once you've got to that point, it was always going to be hard.

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"So, the message was to do what we executed on for 15 overs," the coach said.

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Amid the disappointment of defeat, Kirsten found solace in the team's bowling performance, especially in the death overs.

"(It) got better and better and we've tracked their stats over the last 15 odd games, and they've been an incredible bowling unit from overs 10 to 20. I think our record between overs 10 to 20 as a bowling unit is up there with the best," he said.

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"We've got four fantastic seamers and Imad Wasim I thought bowled really well today as well. So, we've got some nice options on the ball with the team and I think we're going to be a difficult team to bat against if we bowl like that," he added.

Kirsten diverged from the criticism aimed at the drop-in pitches of the Nassau stadium, refraining from joining the bandwagon of discontent.

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Despite witnessing a series of low-scoring matches, he remained diplomatic about Sunday's wicket and the chatter surrounding its uneven bounce, which has been dubbed dangerous in several quarters.

"I think it wasn't dangerous, I mean the odd one rose up, but not many. Generally it kept a little bit lower, it was difficult to score from both batting sides and also a fairly slow outfield so it was never going to be a big total," said Kirsten.

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"I would have said 140 would have been a really good score on that pitch, so India didn't get that and so I thought we had the game," added the South African. 

(with PTI inputs)

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Published June 10th, 2024 at 15:34 IST