Pakistan National Cricket Team head coach Saqlain Mushtaq talked about the performances of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan after the defeat of the Men In Green against the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team in the Asia Cup 2022 final.
Dasun Shanaka-led Sri Lanka National Cricket Team defeated Babar Azam-led Pakistan National Cricket Team by 23 runs to win their 6th Asia Cup title on Sunday, September 11, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Meanwhile, Saqlain Mushtaq said that the Dasun Shanaka-led side deserved to win the championship after the way they performed throughout the tournament.
“If you’re a champion team, you need to be a champion irrespective of whether it’s first innings or second innings,” Saqlain said at the press interaction as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“In the previous game, they asked us to bat first and won. In this game, we batted second and they still won. The way they played in both games, it’s well-deserved.”
When asked about the approach of the opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan, who scored poor 55 runs off 49 balls in the final. Saqlain said that the method adopted by Rizwan is not at all bad and every player has his own style of batting. He elaborated:
“Every team and player has their own style and methods. The way we played, we reached semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last year, we got to the final of an Asia Cup here. Evidence suggests you’re doing something right to get here.
“It’s not compulsory that you do what the rest of the world is doing [in terms of strike rates and showing more intent with the bat]. We’d rather focus on the small things we aren’t doing right instead of looking at what others are doing. His andaaz [method] is not bad.”
The way he’s training and playing it’s amazing – Saqlain Mushtaq on Babar Azam
Talking about the Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who had a poor run with the bat in the Asia Cup, the Pakistan head coach said that the batter is just unlucky.
“I said it earlier too if someone looks at his batting, you’d just say he’s unlucky, especially the way he’s getting out,” Saqlain said.
“It’s just a patch. If you look at the rankings, he’s top in T20Is [No. 2, behind Rizwan] and in ODIs. It’s just been bad luck. The way he’s training and playing it’s amazing. His work ethic is top-notch. I don’t need to say more. I hope Allah saves him from the buri nazar (evil eye),” he added.
When asked if Pakistan were erring strategically by being rigid about opening with Babar and Rizwan, instead of trying Fakhar Zaman as an opener. He replied:
“You need to show faith, trust and belief. If you keep shuffling, it sends a message that you don’t trust them. After the second match itself, there was chatter about our batting shuffle. I don’t follow social media, but you do hear the murmurs. You need to give time. If you keep shuffling, how will you know? Whatever we did, it’s not good to shuffle a lot. It sends a wrong message.”
Saqlain further showered praise on the star batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who smashed sensational 71 runs off 45 balls, including 6 fours and 3 sixes, to win the Player of the Match award in the final, and the entire Sri Lankan Team.
“The way they played today, we played just nine overs of good cricket. After that they dominated for 31 overs in all aspects,” Saqlain said.
“They have been playing brilliant cricket; credit goes to all the boys. Looks like they are on top of the world. The way they played against India and got momentum against Afghanistan, a lot of praise for all of them.
“I’ll credit the Sri Lankans. We’d broken their backbone in the first nine overs, but the way Rajapaksa played, and the others rallied around him, no praise is enough. I’m sure it should be the best innings of his life. The way he lifted them, hats off.”
Get All Cricket match prediction and fantasy Tips – CLICK HERE