His team committed so many errors, one after another, that when Misbah was asked whether the batting, the bowling or the fielding was worse, he just smiled and said “Everything”
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said that his “players are to blame” for the team’s humiliating defeat against West Indies in Christchurch which has now forced them to sit tight at the bottom of Pool B. Misbah conceded that the side thoroughly flopped in every department, and that his 15-man squad had to be rejigged for Pakistan’s next four games.
The day started well enough for Pakistan as they took two early wickets, but ended in shambles, with their top order crumbling to 1 for 4 – the lowest score at which a team has lost four wickets in an ODI. The previous lowest score was 4 for 4, by Canada, against Zimbabwe in 2006. Pakistan’s fielding too left a lot to be desired, as they dropped as many as six catches to let West Indies post a commanding 310 for 6.
“We just lost in all three departments,” Misbah said at the press conference. “We couldn’t bowl well, there were a lot of dropped catches, and the batting totally flopped. At the end of the day, you have to perform as a batsman, bowler and fielder. As a team, as players, we need to pick ourselves up and we need to perform.”
Pakistan arrived in New Zealand 15 days before the start of the World Cup in a bid to adapt to the conditions, even playing two ODIs. Misbah, however, suggested that the conditions were “not easy” to adjust to.
“We have to accept that conditions here are not easy for our players to adjust to and that’s why we are struggling. No matter how much the coaches work with the players, it eventually comes down to the player individually to adjust and perform accordingly. We being the players are to be blamed because we are the one who are not playing well.”
Pakistan made one change form their previous XI, their loss against India, bringing in a specialist opener Nasir Jamshed in order to push Younis Khan down to No. 3, and dropped Yasir Shah. They played with eight batsmen, but five of them failed to get into double figures, meaning that three of their batsmen contributed 137 out of Pakistan’s total score of 160. Even their bowling attack, often seen as Pakistan’s biggest strength, was punished badly. Misbah, however, dismissed suggestions that Pakistan did not select a squad competitive enough for the tournament.
“There is no margin for ifs and buts as whoever is here is the best we have. What is important is we and the people back in the country should not lose hope,” he said. “
“As a player and as a team, we have to improve our performance and this is our chance. We are obviously never going to do good if we continue to play like this. What we need is to think positive and believe that we can win our next four games. We always hope for the best but it’s all about clicking and believing.”
Younis’ place in the team, in particular, has become a talking point, owing to his poor form in the format. Since Pakistan persist with Younis as well as a makeshift wicketkeeper in Umar Akmal, it means there is no place in the XI for Sarfaraz Ahmed. When asked if it was the right time for Pakistan to decide the future of Younis, Misbah rebutted but hinted at a swift change.
“We don’t need to decide in haste. We will see what we have to do. But right now it’s a make-and-break situation. We really have to pull ourselves together and see which combination we can make to win. It’s not a compulsion to stick with same players but we will rather try to make a team that can win.”
– ESPN Cricinfo