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Pakistan vows action after Australian whitewash

Pakistan cricket vowed Monday to redress major failings after their crushing defeat at the hands of Australia in the Tests and one-day series, with former players demanding a purge from the top.

Pakistan were routed 3-0 in the Tests and 5-0 in the one-day matches. It was their fourth straight 3-0 humiliation against Australia in Tests and only their second defeat such whitewash in one-day cricket.

“A full-time analysis is needed and we will definitely take corrective measures to improve the performance of our national team,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Wasim Bari told AFP.

“We, at the PCB, are as disappointed as any other cricket fan,” he added.

After Pakistan’s fourth defeat in the one-day series last Friday, protesters burnt an effigy of PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and demanded his dismissal.

A symbolic funeral for Pakistan cricket was held recently in southern city Hyderabad after Pakistan were blanked in the three-Test series by Australia.

“Fans expect a lot from the team and after the defeat they vented their anger. But we are going to address the grey areas and do our best to remove those flaws,” said Bari, a former captain and wicket-keeper.

“The top weakness is in our fielding,” he acknowledged.

“Nearly 30 dropped catches on the tour of Australia and New Zealand and six, seven run-outs speak of the great weakness in fielding and we are looking for a specialist fielding coach to improve this area,” said Bari.

“If we improve our fielding and show character in matches then we can give tough times to all the teams in the world and we have done that in the past,” said Bari. Butt last week hinted at major changes in team captaincy and management blamed by experts as the main reason for defeat.

Veteran player Mohammad Yousuf was appointed captain after Younus Khan withdrew from the tour of New Zealand and made himself unavailable for the Test series in Australia.

But former pacemen Sarfraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir demanded change in the PCB.

“The officials of the PCB have failed to deliver,” Nawaz told AFP. “There must be change at the top and if that doesn’t happen our performance will not improve.” After the one-day series defeat on Sunday, Pakistan’s chief selector Iqbal Qasim resigned, saying he was disappointed with team performance.

Qadir said others must also leave.

“We need a new set-up because the incumbent officials have failed,” said Qadir. “We need new blood in the team and if that comes from the Under-19 team it would help the team grow in the longer run.”

Pakistan Under-19 team finished runners-up to Australia in the Junior World Cup held in New Zealand last month.

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