Misbah in search of 'six' match-winners

Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector opens up after Sri Lanka T20I series debacle

Misbah in search of 'six' match-winners PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq has opened up after the Men in Green’s humiliating Twenty20 International (T20I) series defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, in their own backyard.

Pakistan, the number one T20I side in the world, lost the first two games, by 64 and 35 runs respectively, to give Sri Lanka an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series in Lahore.   

While speaking during a press conference after the conclusion of the second T20I, Misbah spoke about the team’s over-reliance on top-order batsman Babar Azam and the lack of other match-winners in the side.

"We became number one in T20Is but if you dig deeper, our only strength was Babar Azam's runs and he didn't score in two games and we've been exposed. I think we need to find six match-winners, not one,” said Misbah. “Until you don't have that powerhouse in the middle-order and a powerhouse at the top-order for the powerplay, you can't do well. Similarly in the bowling powerplay if you can't get wickets and then in the death overs you can't finish well, you struggle and I think we have failed in all departments.”

“It's an eye opener. We need to look at these things. If we were doing well, we couldn't do that here. Our strong points didn't deliver. We need to find other players, how long can you rely on one or two batsmen?" he added.

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The former Pakistan captain admitted that he was answerable for the team’s performance and needed to find solutions to the problems hampering the side.  

"You are seeing problems with the team and I am also seeing them. We need to resolve these. It's not something that can be fixed overnight. It takes some time to fix these things," he said. “Obviously I am answerable but to make a team, you need some time and to do that, you do some experiments. Only then do you get the answers to your questions. A lot of things are in front of us and we need to find solutions."

The 45-year-old also defended selecting opener Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal for the T20I series against the Islanders.

“Shehzad's performance in PSL was excellent. Akmal's performance in all formats in domestic cricket was very good. Unfortunately in our circuit, we have no other batsman in T20s who gave performances like these," he said. "I think that any player who is out of the team should get a chance again, if he performs. We gave that chance on that basis but they didn't perform. All we can do is to give them a chance.”  

The third T20I between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday, with the home side aiming to salvage some pride and avoid an embarrassing whitewash.