'Virat Kohli basically played mind games by saying he would have bowled first and we fell into his trap.'
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has slammed Sarfaraz Ahmed's 'brainless captaincy' after Pakistan's humiliating 89-run loss to India in the World Cup.
"I don't understand how can a captain be so brainless, couldn't Sarfaraz think that we don't chase well. Square of the wicket is dry, the wicket is not wet. Knowing the fact and your strength is not batting its bowling," Akhtar said on his official YouTube channel.
Pakistan added one more defeat to their already dismal record in the World Cup against India, taking it to 7-0 in favour of the arch-rivals.
Skipper Sarafraz won the toss and opted to field first allowing India to post an imposing target of 337 on the back of a brilliant 140 by opener Rohit Sharma and half centuries by KL Rahul (57) and Virat Kohli (77).
According to Akhtar, winning the toss was crucial aspect of the game and half the match was won had Sarfaraz decided to bat first.
"Now when you had won the toss, you had won half the match there. But what did you do? You tried that we should not win this match. Yet again, brainless captaincy, utterly stupid management."
Highlighting Pakistan's in ability to chase, Akhtar referred to their defeat to Indian in 1999 and the previous game against Australia.
"We don't have a history of chasing. Inzamam, Yusuf, Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi all big batsman were playing in this ground in 1999 and we had to make 227 we weren't able to do that. So when you got the chance after winning the toss you should have batted."
The Rawalpindi Express also criticised the batsmen for not making use of the conditions unlike their Indian counterparts.
"There was no thinking, one-dimensional players came to bat, but the toss was very crucial to win it and in that even if Pakistan scored 260 they would have done it because the pressure is on required run rate. But who would tell them?"
"I think it's a very saddening and disheartening performance by Pakistan team captain and that's why I was saying that use your head but he tried to not use his brain."
Akhtar singled out pacer Hasan Ali - who went for 84 off his nine overs - as one of the architects of the defeat.
"Yet again, our bowling, Hasan Ali, he can jump on Wagah border but when there is time to exert force, do it here. All these things look good if you take 6-7 wickets, you come here and give 82-84 runs. What mindset is this?"
"I think his mindset is that he wants to be a T20 player, this is his 4th or 5th match for Pakistan and see the conditions, neither there is any pace or swing. I'm failing to understand what he wants to achieve."
'I don't see any planning going into this World Cup'
Former captain Wasim Akram led Pakistan's cricket community in lambasting the team for "going down without a fight" against arch-rivals India.
Pakistan suffered their seventh defeat to India in the World Cup, losing by 89 runs in a rain-hit match at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday.
"The team selection to me is not right and I don't see any planning going into this World Cup," Wasim said.
"Win or lose is part of the game but not this way we just went down without a fight."
Under-fire Sarfaraz, however, defended his decision to bowl first but many former stalwarts said it was a poor decision and reading of the pitch.
"Virat Kohli basically played mind games by saying he would have bowled first and we fell into his trap," former Test batsman Basit Ali said.
He noted that Kohli had shown himself to be a more shrewd captain and better planner than Sarfaraz.
Former fast bowler Sikander Bakht called for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to introduce a system of deducting money from the players' central contracts and match fees if they didn't perform well enough.
"The only solution that I see to make these players more responsible and aware they must perform under pressure is to make performance-based payments to them," he said.
Former captain Muhammad Yousuf too slammed Pakistan's poor show, saying the team's body language was not positive.
"When we played against India it was the premium match for us and we never wanted to lose but yesterday the body language of our captain and players was just not positive and energetic enough," he said.
Yousuf said that everyone knew that the present Indian team was a quality side with top class batsmen and the only way to beat them was to bring them under pressure.
"Two years back the mistake Kohi made at the toss by allowing Pakistan to bat in the final was repeated by Sarfaraz yesterday. No matter how good a batting side a team when you chase in a big match like this you always come under pressure."
Former Test opener Mohsin Khan lamented that the team lacked self belief against India.
"No matter how strong this Indian team the fact is our players just didn't display the motivation, energy or heart to believe in themselves that we can win the match," said Khan, a former chief selector and ex-head coach.
"In the past when we didn't have so many facilities it was our spirit that won us so many games against India. Now it is different I see more energy and desire to win on part of Indian players compared to us."
Former all-rounder Abdul Razzaq felt it was the responsibility of captain and coach to give a plan to the players and ensure they had the game sense and skills to executive them.
"If some player is not skillful enough to execute plans he should be sacked. India lost (Bhuvneshwar) Kumar early on but they didn't feel his absence as the other bowlers knew what their job was," he said.