Misbah-ul-Haq rings alarm bells for Pakistan

Published: 27th March 2013 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2013 11:30 AM   |  A+A-

Misbah_AP

Disappointed Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Tuesday his team faces an alarming situation after losing both its test and one-day series to South Africa.

Misbah was booed by a handful of cricket fans as the team arrived in the eastern city of Lahore early from South Africa on Tuesday morning.

"The series was disappointing," a tired-looking Misbah told reporters at the airport. "In one-dayers the performance was a bit better, but in the test series we couldn't do anything. It's a very alarming situation for us and we need improvement in lots of things."

Pakistan won just three of nine matches in South Africa, including a 3-0 test whitewash and a 3-2 ODI series loss. Pakistan's only other win came in the Twenty20 match when it was led by Mohammad Hafeez.

Fast bowlers Dale Steyn (20) and Vernon Philander (15) combined for 35 wickets in three test matches and bulldozed Pakistan's batting lineup at Johannesburg, Cape Town and Centurion.

Only Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq scored centuries at Cape Town, but even their double century stand could not prevent a four-wicket defeat.

"If we look at our batting, we struggled throughout the series whether its test matches or one-dayers," Misbah said.

Pakistan tried to redeem itself in the one-day series, but its batting let the team down in the decisive ODI at Benoni last Sunday when the team was dismissed for 205.

"We were 40-50 runs short on a wicket where I think batsman like (Hashim) Amla also struggled, but yes ... we played some irresponsible strokes too," Misbah said.

During the ODI series, local media reported of differences between T20 captain Hafeez and Misbah, and alleged the rift hampered Pakistan's performance.

Misbah said there was no truth in the reports.

"It's rubbish news, there was nothing like it and it was not the reason that the team performed badly," he said. "We should accept that they were the better team, played better than us and we couldn't perform as we would have liked to."

Critics have raised questions over the inclusion of aging players in the 50-over team with of Pakistan's ODI XI aged over 30 years of age.

Former captains Rashid Latif, Moin Khan and Waqar Younis have urged the cricket board to think about the future of players like Younis Khan, Misbah, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Imran Farhat.

Misbah agreed that it's the job of the selectors and the Pakistan Cricket Board to decide when the team will be picked for June's Champions Trophy in England, where it faces the West Indies, South Africa and India in its group.

"Everyone has seen who has performed," Misbah said. "To gauge a player's performance there is a cricket board and selection committee, and I think they will look into it in the future. As a player we can't gauge the performances of players."

Flamboyant allrounder Afridi could be in the firing line after he showed his best just once in the third ODI when he scored his first half century in 13 months. But his 88-run knock off 48 balls could not save Pakistan from a 34-run defeat in a high-scoring game at Johannesburg.

Chief selector Iqbal Qasim said prior to the ODI series that it was Afridi's last chance to perform in international matches and he was selected purely as a bowler. However, Afridi remained wicketless, conceding 210 runs in the 37 overs he bowled in five matches.

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