Misbah-Ul-Haq, Pakistan head coach and chief selector, has asserted that the senior all-rounder duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik are still capable of making it to next years’ T20 World Cup in India, adding that it is too early to write them off because of their age.
Pakistan team-management was heavily criticized for sticking with the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik- both of whom are in the twilight of their career- during the T20I series against England. And, while Hafeez vindicated the team’s decision by scoring back-to-back half-centuries, Shoaib Malik could not do the same, leading to heavy criticism of the former Pakistan captain on social media.
“If you look at their previous two year’s record, both Hafeez and Malik have done a reasonable job for the team and played some crucial knocks. Even if you look at their strike rate, it is according to the requirement of international cricket. I think both the players can be a part of the Pakistan team for the next ICC T20 World Cup. It’s too early to write them off because of his age. There is a lot of time between now and the World Cup. We will try out different combinations till then and identify our best 15,” Misbah-Ul-Haq was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan during a press conference held in Lahore.
‘We are on right track’- Misbah-Ul-Haq
Babar Azam’s leadership and decision-making skills came under scrutiny during the T20I series in England. There were speculations that the senior players were undermining Babar’s role but Misbah asserted that the opener is a ‘powerful captain’, someone who makes his own decisions.
“Babar Azam is a powerful captain, who makes his own decisions. We never interfere in his matters but we often give him advices. Everyone makes mistakes but one should learn from them. We all have to back him in this journey to help him emerge as a successful skipper,” he added.
Pakistan has slipped to the No.4 spot in the T20I rankings. Under Misbah-Ul-Haq, the side has managed just three victories and has lost series to Sri Lanka [0-3] and Australia [0-2]. Misbah, however, asserted that the team was already on a decline when he took over the job and it was primarily because most of the players, who were responsible for taking the side to the numer0-uno spot had undergone a significant decline in form. The former skipper reckoned that the team is on the right track.
“Of course, the team was No 1 but if you recall, when I took over the charge, the team was on a losing spree. It had already lost in South Africa, England, and other places. The slide had already begun and everyone knows the reason behind it,” Misbah-Ul-Haq said.
“The main reason behind this decline was lack of form as many players including Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali, who had played key role in rising up the team’s ranking, couldn’t perform up to the mark, and when they went into a slump, the team also felt that dip. But now we are trying to help them regain lost form and get back to that level. There is always room for improvement. The current results may not be what’s desired but overall, the process is up to my satisfaction and it seems that we are on right track,” he added.