Head coach of the Pakistan cricket team, Misbah-ul-Haq says that his players were exhausted due to the time spent in quarantine and hence were not able to perform well in the T20I series and the first Test match against New Zealand. Pakistan lost the T20I series by 2-1, and the Boxing Day Test in Mount Maunganui by 101 runs.
The Pakistan team was subjected to an extended quarantine period as 10 members from the 53-member contingent were found to be positive for the covid-19 virus after landing in New Zealand.
Earlier they had been given a ‘final warning’ from the New Zealand Health Ministry as several players were found breaching the covid protocols- sharing food, getting out of their rooms, and mingling with each other while placed in isolation. Hence, Pakistan’s entire squad was told to do an extra period of quarantine.
As quoted by PTI, Misbah-ul-Haq said, “People have to understand that we have been through a very tough time in New Zealand. After 14-days of total quarantine for the players to still perform like they did in the T20 series and Test match with fatigued bodies and mindset.”
Lots of positives for us on this tour: Misbah-ul-Haq
The 46-year-old takes plenty of positives from the tour hitherto and believes that his side played really well despite the absence of skipper, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, and Imam-ul-Haq. The former skipper is satisfied with some individuals; stand-in skipper, Mohammad Rizwan, Fawad Alam, who scored his second Test century after a decade, and all-rounder, Faheem Ashraf.
Misbah-ul-Haq also feels that if not for the less preparation time, Pakistan could have even won the T20I series. He asserts that the visitors let go of some catches and the top-order could have done better. The second Test begins on 2nd January at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
“There are a lot of positives for us on this tour. But the players put all that behind them and had only six days to prepare for the T20 series including the traveling and all. I think we performed competitively in the T20 series and if not for some mistakes at crucial times like our fielding and top-order failure we could even have won the T20 series,” Misbah reckons.
“The plus points for have been the performance of Rizwan the way he has taken responsibility even as captain and batsman. The way Fawad Alam has come to the front and played so well and the way Faheem Ashraf has come back strongly. These are all positives for us,” the former captain added.