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October 11, 2019

We have a lot of questions to answer, says Misbah


October 11, 2019

KARACHI: Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan cricket’s newly-installed strong man, cut a sorry figure as he faced the media after his team’s stunning 3-0 defeat in the T20 International series against Sri Lanka’s second string side in Lahore.

Together with captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Misbah tried to make sense of Pakistan’s upset defeat in the T20I series which marked a disastrous start to his stint as Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector.

“It’s an example for us the way they have beaten us in every department,” Misbah told reporters on Wednesday night after Sri Lanka whitewashed his team by winning the third and final game of the series.

“They won the games in almost one-sided fashion leaving us in tatters and with lots of questions to answer. We played very poor cricket and definitely it’s my responsibility but I am still thinking what really happened because these are the same set of players that have been playing for long and made the team No. 1,” he said.

When asked if the loss was because of a strategy change in the dressing room since Arthur left, Misbah said: “I haven’t done anything in the last 10 days that could have deterred anything. If you want to put responsibility on me you can but in this brief time since I took charge how big a difference could I created with my coaching. The strategy was simple: to cash in on the Powerplay and later go all out in the last five overs. These are the same players who took Pakistan on top [in the T20I rankings] but in this series they were not able to execute things well with the bat, ball and while fielding.”

These reasons may not comprehend properly how a top-ranked side can slide so quickly against a Sri Lankan team without their top players. But when Misbah was asked again, he got sarcastic.

“Maybe I did something? Probably I made our right-hand batsmen switch to left-handed batting or maybe made our right-handers bowl with the left arm or vice-versa? In terms of strategy, nothing really has changed but I am thinking what went wrong.”

Sarfraz came to the rescue of his coach and brushed aside any change of strategy or thought process in the T20 format.

“Everything is the same [in our planning] but the difference was our performance on the ground,” he said. “We were not able to apply ourselves, we didn’t click at the right time, we were not able to clinch the key moments. We shouldn’t have let them cross the 150-mark but we did, we did not capitalise in the middle overs, we dropped catches…so all this played a part.

“Whether it’s the last management or this, our message [to the players] was clear and almost the same. It’s then the responsibility of the captain and players to deliver at the ground. But we didn’t perform. There are good and bad days for almost everyone but we have to learn quickly from this. We have to regroup and stand together again and it will be good if we get our momentum back as soon as possible.

Misbah said his batsmen were unable to deal with the slow Gaddafi Stadium wicket. “It’s not that they (the top-order batsmen) were being selfish, they were unable to adapt to the slowness of the pitch,” Misbah explained. “They were trying to hit but weren’t able to which led to more dot balls and frustration. Babar wasn’t able to time the ball in all three innings.

“It’s unfair to say that both (Babar and Harris) were playing for themselves. Their position in the team is not uncertain and nobody is challenging their positions at the moment. It was Sri Lanka’s good bowling which never allowed our batsmen to adapt properly. A big factor has been the impact of their wristspinner (Wanindu Hasaranga). We didn’t pick his googly whereas they played our spinner nicely and batted well.” –with inputs from agencies

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