KARACHI: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has described his one-time new ball partner Mohammad Sami as a “mentally weak” bowler who is not adept at handling pressure.
“Sami is a mentally weak athlete and he can’t take pressure,” Shoaib said in a TV interview on Sunday.
“Efforts were made to make Sami into ‘Karachi Express’ and he was constantly told that I was his competition for a place in the team,” recalled Shoaib.
“I played a lot with Sami and my observation is he tried to compete hard and lost discipline in bowling. When we bowled together we could put a lot of pressure on the batsmen and in such circumstances he bowled well,” Shoaib said.
The former pacer believed that luck also plays a big role in any cricketer’s career and Sami didn’t have much going for him.
“Sami was also an unlucky bowler as many times straight forward catches were dropped off his bowling while in some instances umpires didn’t give decisions in his favour,” he added.
The national selectors and the team management have come under criticism for retaining Sami in the T20 squad announced for the coming Australia series and the World T20 after he failed to make an impact on the Sri Lanka tour.
Sami’s selection was a debatable one, with critics pointing to his abysmal Test record of 85 wickets in 36 matches at an average of 56.
However, his performances in ODIs and T20 matches is better as he has captured 121 wickets in 85 matches at an average of 28 and 10 wickets at 14 in five T20 games.
Pakistan’s former captain Waqar Younis also recently criticised the performance of Sami in Sri Lanka, urging the selectors to go for young blood and to repose more confidence in someone like Junaid Khan.
But the selectors didn’t pick Junaid in the T20 squad with chief selector Iqbal Qasim making it clear that captain Mohammad Hafeez and coach Dav Whatmore had preferred to have the experienced Sami instead of the young Swabi pacer.
“Sami has failed to learn from his past experiences and despite making numerous comebacks, he is still a very expensive bowler,” Waqar said.—Agencies