KARACHI - Pakistan’s embarrassing 203-run defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India in the semi-final of the U19 World Cup at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday has led to calls for better selection and coaching.

India’s 272 in the first innings was powered by a superb unbeaten century by Shubman Gill, who scored 102 not out off just 94 balls. Muhammad Musa and Arshad Iqbal were the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, finishing with figures of 4-67 and 3-51 respectively in their 10 overs.

Pakistan, on the other hand, were embarrassingly poor in the chase; being skittled out for just 69 in just 29.3 overs, with Rohail Nazir’s 16 being the top score.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, though, was in no mood to blame the players and believes the management must take full responsibility of the debacle in Christchurch.

“I have seen all the matches and it isn’t the fault of the players,” he said. “The selection of the players was not good enough. At this level, the thing that matters most are selection, coaching and team management; you have to build players physically and mentally. We have many good players at the U19 level but our selection was not good enough and that resulted in failure. We have a lot of talent that could have done better.”

Razzaq said the Indians are always coached by former cricketers who have played at these levels and therefore know what the players are thinking and going through.

“When a former cricketer comes in as coach at this level, they know which area needs to be worked upon and how can the team be made stronger,” he said. “The way Pakistan played today is just unacceptable. The pitch was a balanced one and that is where a team is tested the most. In the quarter-finals the situations were conducive for fast-bowler since it had pace and uneven bounce that troubled the batsmen. Here, they were unable to do anything with both bat and ball. That, however, is not down to the players but to the management.”

The former fast-bowling all-rounder made himself available to coach at the younger levels, saying the U13, U16 and U19 levels are where players are made.

“If the Pakistan Cricket Board needs my services at these levels then I would love to train these players,” he said. “I know for a fact that if you can make them mentally strong at this level and train them on how to deal with the situation without letting the pressure get to you then you can create good players.”

Razzaq added that coaching players at this level can be more rewarding since coaches can work on technique at this time of their careers. “At the senior level, players cannot be trained completely; you can only make a few changes,” he said. “At the younger age groups, you can literally make a player and build him so that both him and Pakistan can benefit from it.”