KARACHI: Pakistan's head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has hailed his team's 2-0 Test series win over South Africa as a much-needed boost for the country's cricket. It was Pakistan's first Test series win over the Proteas since 2003.
Talking to the media on Tuesday, Misbah said that the series against South Africa was very important after the poor performance of the team in New Zealand. "I also think for the growth of players it is very important for countries to play Tests at home on a regular basis. It becomes easier for them to go abroad and perform as well," Misbah added.
"This series was very important for us as we had a very poor series in New Zealand and what is satisfactory is that the team showed grit and each player played his part in the series win. I have never taken pressure because of my job's future but it was frustrating and disappointing that in the last one year we had come close to winning matches even in England and lost out due to poor fielding and lack of application," he said.
Before the series, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had made it clear that a defeat was not acceptable against South Africa. "Look it does not matter to me what the cricket committee says and I never took any pressure because of that because I believe there are no sureties or guarantees about your job. No one can give that to you," he said.
Misbah said that what was important for him was that he and his team had worked hard in the last one and half years, but without the desired results. "But in this series it came together and our finishing was good and we grabbed the opportunities when they came our way," he added.
Misbah also felt that the emergence of Faheem Ashraf as an all-rounder at number seven had allowed the management to strike a balance. "Till Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood were playing we had that balance but for sometime now we have lacked a quality bowling batting all-rounder at number seven. We have invested in Faheem and he is finally coming good for us," he said.
He also believed that wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Rizwan's performances were not surprising since he is a good player of fast bowling. "He came into the team on the back of some good performances in domestic cricket and we needed someone down the order who could play fast bowling well," he added.