Misbah rues Babar’s absence on New Zealand tour

Pakistan skipper did not feature during the entire tour due to thumb fracture

Misbah rues Babar’s absence on New Zealand tour PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan Head Coach Misbahul Haq has stated that skipper and star batsman Babar Azam’s absence was one of the main reasons behind the team’s disappointing performance on the recently concluded New Zealand tour.

Babar did not feature during the entire tour due to thumb fracture.    

Pakistan lost the three-match T20I series, 2-1, and were also clean swept, 2-0, in the Test matches against the home side.

“Babar Azam’s injury was a big issue for us. It was a big loss for us especially in Test cricket. We were affected morally and on the field due to this setback,” said Misbah during a press conference in Lahore.

“We should accept that the opposition were better than us in all three departments. They have been playing good cricket for past couple of years. We also tried our best on the field during the series but unfortunately results did not go our way,” he added.

He also backed young pacer Naseem Shah to come good despite a difficult tour of New Zealand.

“We should not write off players after just couple of matches. I still back him and firmly believe that he will perform well in the future,” he said.

Misbah also opened up on pacer Mohammad Amir’s retirement from international cricket and the latter’s reservations with Pakistan team’s current coaching staff.   

“Amir’s recent performance was not up to the mark as compared to the other bowlers. Amir is a quality bowler and, even though he has taken retirement, if he plays and performs to the best of his ability, I will welcome him in the side despite what has happened,” he said.

“I never said that [Amir retired because he wants to earn money from T20 leagues]. When he retired from Test cricket, I respected his decision but as a senior player you have to lead the time, like Hafeez, rather than playing for your survival and the same goes for Wahab [Riaz],” he added.  

Misbah and bowling coach Waqar Younis will separately brief and update the PCB Cricket Committee on the men’s sides performances against England, Zimbabwe and New Zealand in a meeting on Tuesday.

“We must not have communication gap. We obviously need board’s confidence and can’t have uncertainty because producing end results take time,” he said.

“We can’t assume things. Obviously we are there only to give report and recommendations. I hope it is not to grill someone,” he said. “It [appearing before cricket committee] is not something to be minded. We are both there for Pakistan cricket.”

Before the beginning of the aforementioned press conference, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also clarified that there was not truth in speculations about Misbah’s removal as head coach of the national side.