Pakistan were not upto the level of top teams at the World Cup: Misbah-ul-Haq
Lahore, March 25 (IANS)
Pakistan's recently retired One-Day International (ODI) captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday said that his team failed to match the level of the top sides at the cricket World Cup, exiting the tournament in the quarter-finals.
Pakistan won four games in Pool B to enter the quarters, where the 1992 Cup champions were ousted by co-hosts and four-time champions Australia.
Misbah admitted that his ODI side was rarely stable and that the players had never been ‘able to match the level’ of cricket played by the top teams.
“It's unfortunate for Pakistan that we are not able to match the level of the top teams around the world for many reasons,” he was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.
“Our batting and our fielding is just not there. We have to improve our basic structure. We played the quarter-finals and the credit for that goes to our bowlers who compensated our batting lapses. In batting and fielding, we need a lot of improvement.”
“We are not mature as a batting unit yet”
Misbah, 40, was critical of Pakistan's batting line-up, which he termed immature.
“You can't compare Pakistan's batting line-up with other teams. In most of the matches when I got out early, we couldn't play the entire 50 overs. When you are under pressure, you tend not to take too many risks and the strike rate goes down. We had an inexperienced batting line-up,” he said.
“When you get a set platform, you try your best to score at least a-run-a-ball. We can say as a batting unit we are not yet matured and don't know how to play a big innings.
“It's a problem of our batting line-up and we need to look at it in the future. Maybe if the batsmen get some exposure of international cricket, they will get better. But obviously, it was our problem in the World Cup,” he observed.
“It’ll be a challenge for PCB to pick a new ODI Captain”
The Test skipper believes the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) faces a ‘challenge’ in selecting a new leader for the country's limited-overs team.
“My one-day career is over and I have played my innings,” Misbah told espncricinfo.
“Now the responsibility lies with the youngsters to take Pakistan cricket forward. It indeed will be a challenge for the PCB to pick a new ODI captain,” he said.
For the first time since 2011, the PCB is in a dilemma over the next ODI captain as there is no automatic choice to lead the team for their tour of Bangladesh next month.
While the board holds the ultimate power to name the next captain, Misbah said he had voiced his suggestions and observations to the PCB. He added that the next leader should be allowed to have a say in team selection.
The 40-year-old said, “Our policy is that the selection committee has full and final authority. The captain gives his suggestions, but he doesn't have the authority. I feel the captain and coach should both have authority as well as some responsibility in the selection committee.”
“Afridi was our only genuine all-rounder at the World Cup”
When questioned about his team selections during the World Cup, particularly his persistence with veteran Shahid Afridi, Misbah said the all-rounder was an "irreplaceable" member of Pakistan.
“Afridi was in good form. We didn't have any replacement at No. 7 so obviously we played him,” Misbah said.
“He is the only genuine all-rounder in the team and we were struggling with the bowling line-up as we didn't have a fourth full bowler when we played with six batsmen.”
“So we kept him in the line-up as a back-up for our batting. And you have to bank on a player who is a powerhouse. No doubt, he didn't perform (as expected), but throughout the tournament his batting form was good.”
The right-handed batsman led Pakistan in 87 matches, winning 45 and losing 39. In a 13-year ODI career which included three different stints with the team, Misbah scored 5122 runs from 162 ODIs.
His average of 44.82 as captain is also the best for any Pakistan player to have led the side in at least 10 matches.