Former Pakistan opener, and later Chief Selector Aamer Sohail expressed his criticism of Shahid Afridis selection for the 1999 world cup in England.
He stated that Afridi was a flop in both bowling and batting departments during the World Cup, and opined that Mohammed Yousuf had the right technique to play the moving ball and should have been the first choice opener instead of the out of sorts Afridi.
Afridi had made his international debut in 1996, and had a long and distinguished career, however he had a rather forgettable World Cup in 1999.
He managed a meagre 93 runs in 8 games, and his bowling performance was equally dismal picking up 1 paltry wicket at an average of 115.
Details of his performance:
1.Versus West Indies.
Runs;11/off 19 balls. Bowling; Did not bowl.
Runs; 7/off 9 balls .Bowling 2 overs 16 runs.
3.Versus BanglaDesh. Batting; 2 runs off 4 balls, bowling 5 overs 25 runs 1
4.Versus NewZealand .Batting ;17 runs off 22 balls, Bowling 6 overs 26 runs.
5.Versus India ; Batting 6 runs off 5 balls. Did not bowl.
6.Vesus Zimbabwe; dropped.
7.Versus Australia(Final); 13 runs off 16 balls, did not Bowl.
Sohail remarked that Pakistan should have selected full time openers for the Tournament so that they could neutralize the threat of the new ball in seaming conditions.
He said that when he was Captain in 1998, he had decided with selectors that regular openers will play in the world cup. Sohail added that Afridi was a swashbuckling all-rounder who could pulverize bowling attacks on flat low bounce decks as he could bring pressure on the bowlers, but in demanding conditions on seaming and bouncy tracks his short-comings were
brutally exposed, and could neither, bowl or bat effectively.
The veteran player said Team composition and the decision to bat first ware the two reasons that caused the defeat of Pakistan in the final versus Australia.
Sohail remarked that it had rained heavily a couple of days before the final match this had freshened up the wicket, and by batting first Akram had exposed the Pakistani batsmen to the potent new ball and spin attack of the Aussies.
Whereas the Pakistani bowling attack was equally potent and well balanced, most of the bowlers had reasonable experience of English conditions due to their County stints, and by opting to bowl first they could have definitely put the Aussies under pressure by making first use of a lively bowling
Akram the then Skipper of Pakistan had hinted he would opt to bowl first on winning the toss however later on he changed his mind a decision which probably cost them the world cup.