I will not hide behind excuses: Sarfaraz

Pakistan captain says Russell’s spell changed the game in West Indies’ favour

I will not hide behind excuses: Sarfaraz PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has admitted the mistakes the team did in the seven wicket loss to West Indies in the Men in Green’s World Cup opener, saying he would not hide behind excuses.

In a blog post for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) website, the wicketkeeper-batsman said West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell’s first spell, where he bagged the wickets of opener Fakhar Zaman and middle-order batsman Haris Sohail changed the game.

“We always expected it to be a hard game. We were ready for a barrage of short pitch balls and had prepared for it. But, we lost too many wickets up front that pegged us back,” wrote Sarfaraz.

“I would pinpoint Andre Russell's two wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail. That shook us in the Powerplay and when you lose three top-order wickets in the first ten overs, it going gets tougher.”

“I think our shot selection was not good and we lost a number of batsman to short pitch deliveries,” he added.

Sarfaraz also pointed out that the lack of partnerships was one of the reasons Pakistan lost the plot after being asked to bat first by West Indies at Trent Bridge.

“The other main thing that contributed to the batting’s downfall was our failure to build partnerships. I think the highest partnership of the innings was for the last wicket, which produced 22 runs,” explained Sarfaraz.

“Fakhar and Babar had good starts and they were playing their shots. Unfortunately, Fakhar was bowled off an inside edge and Babar had a very soft dismissal. It’s always important at any level of cricket to capitalise on good starts, which the two couldn’t do.”

Trent Bridge is known for its lack of assistance for bowlers since it was here that England amassed a world-record 481 runs in ODIs, however Sarfaraz clarified that it wasn’t the same when Pakistan took on West Indies on Friday.

I also want to negate the impression that it was a 400-plus pitch or the one on which England had piled a world record of 481 runs last year. No, this was a fresh pitch and it was sticky. The ball was stopping on it. Because of the day match, there was moisture on it. If you remember we scored 340 batting first on this same venue against England in the fourth ODI because it was a late start and there was no moisture and the ball was properly coming onto the bat,” he said.

Pakistan play England next on Monday and Sarfaraz had said that they are still hopeful of making a comeback.

“Despite the defeat, I am confident that we have the ability to bounce back. We have to back ourselves and not think too much about what happened in the first game,” said Sarfaraz.

He continued: “England are a tough team but we have played them in a series recently. So, all we need is to play at our potential and come up with a win.”