Qalandars have struggled to find right combination: Aqib

By Alam Zeb Safi
February 29, 2024
This file photo shows Lahore Qalandars head coach Aqib. — Facebook/Aqib Javed

LAHORE: Conceding that they have struggled to find the right combination, Lahore Qalandars head coach Aqib Javed has said that they will still try to play good cricket in the rest of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 which has now shifted to Karachi and Pindi.


“We are still looking for a win,” Aqib told a post-match news conference after Qalandars were mauled by Multan Sultans by 60 runs here at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on Tuesday night. “Look, sport is played for pride and when payers come on ground, they have reputation. The entire world looks at them. Fans forget how much chance a team has so we will try to play good cricket in our remaining games so that fans could see good cricket,” Aqib said. Multan Sultans scored 214-4 thanks to fine batting from Usman Khan (96), Reeza Hendricks (40) and Iftikhar Ahmed (40*).

Spinner Usama Mir then took 6-40 in four overs to skittle Qalandars out for 154 in 17 overs. Aqib said he was hugely “disappointed” by the “huge loss”. “The previous five games were close and there were chances and anybody could win but today it’s a huge disappointing performance,” he said.

“Either there is a team combination or you have individual brilliance and with three to four players’ fine performances you can get good position in a tournament. We are facing issues with our combination,” said Aqib, also a former Test pacer.

“If we see our bowling lacks consistency and maturity. Shaheen is fighting all alone. If you don’t get support from the other end your quality bowlers also face problems in the middle,” he said.

Asked about playing with two spinners, George Linde and Salman Fayyaz, Aqib they had decided to go with three spin options. “Today we decided to go with three options also including Sikandar Raza so you have leggie, offie and left-arm spinner and four seam bowlers but the issue is that when the things are not in your favour no option works then,” he said.

“I think bowing lacked discipline,” Aqib said. Asked whether they did not click with the bat due to reshuffling in batting, Aqib said that they try batting combinations according to the situation “but sometimes the things are successful and sometimes not”.

Asked about fielding lapses against Sultans, Aqib said that it was difficult to give justification of anything. “Today nothing happened which could be justified. Bowling was on inconsistent line and in batting if you need to achieve a big total like this you need your top order batters to go deep,” he said.

Asked whether they would try Abdullah Shafiq once again, Aqib said that they had to think about such a combination which could benefit the team. “But you have to keep balanced both the things. Look, Fakhar has not been in form like that but Sahibzada Farhan was playing so well. We could not play Shafiq at No3 and we also told Shafiq to play at No4 and if you click there it will be a new pathway for your career and team will also be benefitted but when you face issues then as team management you think and we brought in Kamran Ghulam who bats at No4,” Aqib said.

“Look, we have heavy bowling always and we think if you have six bowlers you dominate in T20 cricket and unfortunately of the five best three were not there and our strength became our weakness. And in such a situation it becomes difficult as someone comes late, someone in the middle,” he explained. “Yes, we knew Rashid was not there but at least if the rest of the players assemble, keep healthy then definitely results could have been different,” Aqib signed off.

Qalandars will face Peshawar Zalmi on March 2 at Pindi. It will be followed by their game against Islamabad United on March 6 at Pindi before they take on Karachi Kings on March 9 at National Stadium Karachi. Their last show will be against Quetta Gladiators on March 10.