Abu Dhabi: Pakistan’s batting woes are turning out to be perennial problem and need urgent attention, but skipper Misbah-ul-Haq admits he is clueless about the remedy. With the series slipping away, so ignominious is the problem that he even asked journalists for solutions.
“I have no clue why our batsmen are struggling. If you guys know what is going wrong, then let me know,” said a helpless-looking Misbah after his team suffered a 68-run loss to South Africa in the third ODI.
“Maybe it’s lack of experience but after playing so much cricket I think, as professionals, we should pick things up fast. And once you are set, we have to make sure to carry on and take the team with you,” said Misbah, who himself has struggled to build on scores of 31, 25 and 19 in the last three innings.
“It was [the] same old story. We really need to think about our batting, especially after batsmen made impressive starts but failed to convert them into big scores. We need to really think about it as a batting unit. Thirties and 20s are not going to win the match for Pakistan,” said Misbah, who has every reason to feel upset as the last time Pakistan successfully chased a total of over 250 was more than two years and nine months ago, when they beat New Zealand in Napier.
Bowling is one department Misbah need not worry about, with Mohammad Irfan looking good so far in the tournament. Shahid Afridi proved again that he can show is guile on any wicket and once again provided crucial breakthroughs. Saeed Ajmal is far from his usual self but kept the opposition on their toes. And with the likes of Sohail Tanvir in their side, Pakistan possess a strong bowling unit that can defend any respectable total.
“Irfan bowled well. He did not start well but made a good comeback. He bowled well in the second spell and in the last one. So he is really doing good and delivering what is expected of him. The spinners bowled well too and Afridi made good use of the wicket,” revealed Misbah, who begged to differ that chasing was a prime problem for his team and losing the toss means that they have lost half the battle.
“It looks like we are struggling to chase. But to get a start like that and then not win the match is not acceptable. In the first four overs, we were going at eight [runs] an over. It is not the matter of toss. If we don’t capitalise on the starts we get, it doesn’t matter whether we are battling or bowling first.”
South Africa leg spinner Imran Tahir proved to be Pakistan’s chief destroyer as he triggered the slide and ended up claiming four wickets despite going for 19 runs in his first two overs.
“A leg spinner is always an attacking option. Imran can leak runs but he can get you wickets at any time. Wickets are always important whether it is Test match or one-day match. Whenever you lose a wicket, you are keeping the pressure on and that’s what Imran is doing,” said Misbah.
He now has to rally his men ahead of the must-win fourth ODI at 3pm on Friday.