Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq spoke in a press conference after their T20I series win against Bangladesh. Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by 2-0 in the 3-match series after the 3rd match was abandoned due to persistent rain. It was their first series win since 2018 and also their first series win in Babar Azam’s leadership.
Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq:
Misbah had admitted that a series win after losing two back-to-back ones provided them with some “breathing space” and they can focus better going forward.
The head coach said after the conclusion of the T20I leg of Bangladesh series: “This victory was important for us to get breathing space and now you obviously have to see where you are lacking and which area you can strengthen yourself. Otherwise being under pressure, you are always running after many things and sometimes it’s really hard to catch up. So, it’s good for me, for the team, for all youngsters that we are relaxed and got a little confidence-booster. Now we can focus better going forward.”
The 45-year-old gave credit to the team’s bowling attack and said: “The most important thing for us was to win, because when you lose back-to-back series and even before we had a poor run losing T20 games, so it was really important for our confidence to win. Obviously, credit should be given to our bowling – the way our young bowlers never gave Bangladesh a chance to sneak in to get into a position to pose any threat.
“So, overall it’s a good performance and for Pakistan cricket it’s good. For the World Cup, we still have plenty of time – the PSL and then more international games, so we will have more challenges and difficult situations coming up to get ourselves prepared.”
Misbah also talked about the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) and its importance in the build-up preparations towards the T20 World Cup later this year. He said: “We will keep everything in mind when we are making a team for the T20 World Cup. Obviously, PSL will be very important for us. The hitters who were in the team previously couldn’t perform that well. We then brought Khushdil and Iftikhar in the team. We have these options,”
The head coach added: “the point of looking at PSL is that you get to see the performances and you can analyze where players fit in and where we need players in the team. Then we grind further in the matches we will play, then decide on the squad. In domestic cricket, there is lesser pressure.
“In PSL, at some level, you can say that with media and international players, the standard comes a bit closer to international cricket. The temperament of a player can be checked there and then finally, the requirement of the team. Then you can pick the player and ready them.”
Misbah also talked about the inclusion of senior cricketers in the squad. He had faced some bashing from the fans from the local fans due to poor selection ever since he took on the role of chief selector. And recently the commentator and former World Cup winner, Ramiz Raja had also criticized Misbah for not including Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz in the T20I squad for Bangladesh series. The head coach clarified that he was not against selecting senior players.
He said: “Whenever both seniors weren’t there in the team… questions were asked of me. I never really talked about ending someone’s career or why we are not considering them. But, sometimes you do look around and check your resources and do experiments to see where you stand.
“So, after two series we have realized that we cannot go to all out with youngsters and we need experience. So, obviously, Babar did back them and, as expected, their experience did work for us. So, the doors are never shut. So, if any player who is fit, performing and required, he should definitely be considered. If their form is helping your team, then I don’t see any problem in picking them.”