Karachi: Shoaib Akhtar described Mohammad Sami, Akhtar's one-time new-ball partner, as mentally weak, after growing criticism over Sami's selection to the Pakistan Twenty20 International squads that will play against Australia and in the World T20.
"Sami is a mentally weak athlete and he can't take pressure," Dawn, the Pakistan daily, quoted Shoaib as saying. "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. I played a lot with Sami and my observation is he tried to compete hard and lost discipline. When we bowled together we could put a lot of pressure on the batsmen and in such circumstances he bowled well."
At the same time, Shoaib conceded that Sami hasn't always had luck going his way. "Sami was also an unlucky bowler as many times straightforward catches were dropped off his bowling while in some instances umpires didn't give decisions in his favour," said Shoaib.
Shoaib's latest statements come just a few days after he criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board for trying to revive international cricket in Pakistan at a time when, he felt, the security situation in the country was not conducive for such efforts.
Sami was retained in the Pakistan T20I squads announced for the upcoming series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates as well as the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September-October this year. In the only Test he played on the tour of Sri Lanka, Sami picked one wicket conceding 92 runs, while in two ODIs and two T20Is, he got three wickets for 94 runs and four wickets for 38 runs respectively. Pakistan lost both the Test and ODI series, while the T20I series was drawn 1-1.
Shoaib was not the only one who criticised Sami, with Waqar Younis, the former Pakistan captain, also joining the debate. "Sami has failed to learn from his past experiences and despite making numerous comebacks, he is still a very expensive bowler," said Waqar recently.
Sami's Test record of 85 wickets in 36 matches at an average of 52.74 was described as 'abysmal' by the newspaper. In ODIs, Sami averages 28.52 with 121 wickets from 85 games and in T20Is, he averages 14.60 with ten wickets from five games.