Over-reliance on Azam hurting Pakistan, avers new coach Misbah after series loss - GulfToday

Over-reliance on Azam hurting Pakistan, avers new coach Misbah after series loss


Pakistan’s Babar Azam is dismissed by a Sri Lankan bowler during their second Twenty20 match on Monday. Associated Press

Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has urged the team to step up and not depend only on Babar Azam to get the runs after their harrowing T20I series defeat to Sri Lanka at home.

Pakistan lost the first two games, by 64 and 35 runs respectively, as the islanders took an unassailable lead in the three-match series in Lahore.

“We became number one in T20Is but if you dig deeper, our only strength was Babar Azam’s runs and he didn’t score in two games and we’ve been exposed.

“I think we need to find six match-winners, not one,” said Misbah as quoted by www.cricketpakistan.com.pk.

“Until you don’t have that powerhouse in the middle-order and a powerhouse at the top-order for the powerplay, you can’t do well. Similarly in the bowling powerplay if you can’t get wickets and then in the death overs you can’t finish well, you struggle and I think we have failed in all departments.”

“It’s an eye opener. We need to look at these things. If we were doing well, we couldn’t do that here. Our strong points didn’t deliver. We need to find other players, how long can you rely on one or two batsmen?” he added.

The head coach accepted responsibility for the twin defeats and said he needed to find solutions to the problems hampering the side.

“You are seeing problems with the team and I am also seeing them. We need to resolve these. It’s not something that can be fixed overnight. It takes some time to fix these things,” he said.

“Obviously I am answerable but to make a team, you need some time and to do that, you do some experiments. Only then do you get the answers to your questions. A lot of things are in front of us and we need to find solutions.”

The 45-year-old also defended selecting opener Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal for the T20I series against the islanders.

“Shehzad’s performance in PSL was excellent. Akmal’s performance in all formats in domestic cricket was very good. Unfortunately in our circuit, we have no other batsman in T20s who gave performances like these,” he said.

“I think that any player who is out of the team should get a chance again, if he performs. We gave that chance on that basis but they didn’t perform. All we can do is to give them a chance.”

The third T20I will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday. Meanwhile, former pacer Shoaib Akhtar lashed out at the team’s dependence on Misbah alone.

“Pakistan cricket will never improve by giving one person the entire power and responsibility. You can save money by appointing one person as coach and selector, but the thing will only improve when the board will look for people who have an eye for the talent,” Akhtar said.

Citing India’s example, he said: “Virat Kohli is a bowler’s captain. Kohli is not doing captaincy when he is with the bowlers, he is enjoying the bowlers rattling the opposition. It is a good thing that Indian bowlers have such a good captain.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Umar Akmal has joined former Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan in an unwarranted list of scoring the maximum number of ducks in T20 Internationals.

Akmal, who had scored a 0 in the first T20I against Sri Lanka, on Monday returned to the pavilion without troubling the scorers at the Gadaffi Stadium in the second match which the team from the island nation won comfortably by 35 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Akmal now has 10 ducks in 84 T20Is he has played so far for Pakistan and jointly holds the record alongside Dilshan who had same number of ducks in 80 matches for Sri Lanka.

Third in the list comes Luke Wright of England who has scored 9 ducks. For India, Rohit Sharma has the maximum number of zeroes as he has scored 6 ducks in 98 T20Is till now.

On Monday, Bhandara Rajapaksa, who made his debut in the first T20I against Pakistan, smashed 77 off just 48 to help Sri Lanka to a series win in Lahore.

Sri Lanka posted a strong 182/6 in their stipulated 20 overs and restricted the hosts to 147 to claim the series.

The third and the final T20I will be played on Wednesday.


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