Salman Butt has expressed surprise over the Pakistan batters' inability to read Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga’s variations. He pointed out that all players from the country have grown up playing tape ball cricket and, as such, should not have any issues facing the Lankan spinner.
Hasaranga was the Player of the Match for his figures of three for 21 as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by five wickets in the Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 game on Friday, September 9, in Dubai. The 25-year-old dismissed Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Asif Ali as Pakistan looked all at sea against him.
Sharing his thoughts on Pakistan’s poor batting effort, especially against Hasaranga, Butt said on his YouTube channel:
“The way Pakistan’s batters got out was quite disappointing. All their lives they have played tape ball cricket. How can they not read Hasaranga’s variations from the finger?
"Straight finger means the ball will spin away and behind the hand means the delivery will come in. Iftikhar Ahmed could not read a googly in an earlier match. In this game as well, he couldn’t pick the variation.”
Apart from Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana also impressed, registering figures of two for 21 from his four overs. Debutant pacer Pramod Madushan claimed a couple of wickets as well. Babar, meanwhile, top-scored for Pakistan with a 29-ball 30.
“Won’t call it a bad day” - Salman Butt attributes Pakistan’s loss to poor shot selection
While some experts and fans might feel that Pakistan had a bad day in office against Sri Lanka on Friday, Butt has a differing view.
He stated that the batters threw away their wickets with bad shots. He explained:
“The kind of shots Pakistan batters played, I won’t call it a bad day for them. I would describe it as very poor shot selection. We could have said it was a bad day for them if they had some poor luck. However, batters were getting dismissed due to their inability to pick bowlers’ variations.
Adding that such lackluster performances do affect the confidence of the team, Butt concluded:
“I am sure Pakistan will be a different team in the final. They will come in with a different attitude. Having said that, there are serious batting concerns. Pakistan have won games by showing brilliance in patches. There has been no wholesome performance.”
Pakistan were bowled out for 121 against Sri Lanka, a total the latter chased down in 17 overs. The teams will now meet in the Asia Cup 2022 final on Sunday, September 11, in Dubai.