LAHORE: Pakistan Test and ODI captain Misbahul Haq has put his team’s below-par performance on last month’s tour to Sri Lanka down to a ‘lack of match practice’. “Lack of cricket was the big thing, the players did their best, they fought well,” Misbah told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium here on Tuesday after meting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman. Pakistan lost the Test series 2-0 and the ODIs 2-1 to Sri Lanka, prompting concern from the board ahead of the 2015 World Cup. Subsequently, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had summoned Misbah and others from the team management for meetings “Our momentum got broken because of lack of cricket. There was a big gap after Asia Cup in March and we didn’t have much match practice and that’s why we looked out of sorts, we lacked match practice and we couldn’t handle it.” About his meeting with the PCB chief, Misbah said: “We talked about the future and how should we plan for the World Cup. We also talked about recent series and why our performance was so bad. Overall it was a good meeting.”
Regarding his own batting form, Misbah said he was prepared to go back to the drawing board to try to recover his batting form. “I feel it myself that my not contributing with the bat.” Misbah, 40, normally a prolific scorer in both formats, contributed just 67 in his four Test innings and the same number of runs in the three one-dayers that followed. The senior batsman has been under pressure to step down as captain. “If you talk about pressure on me, I don’t take pressure because it is no solution to any problem. I try to remain positive all the time, no matter what is said,” he added. “But when you play in a team as a senior batsman you are expected to contribute tellingly, which I didn’t do in Sri Lanka. “I know it myself. I will go back to my basics and try to regain my form, as this is very important for the team,” he said.
Misbah, who has been captain since late 2010, was also asked whether he would like to have more say in selection matters. “I think you should ask this question to someone, but as a captain I can only give my suggestions to the selectors,” he said. “They listen to me, but sometimes the team is not according to what you want. Obviously everyone has his opinion on selection matters, but at the end collective opinion is taken into consideration while finalising team,” he added. Misbah also said that Pakistan’s pool of players for the 2015 World Cup was more or less finalised. He said the squad would be picked from the pool of players given central contracts, with the odd exception. He said there was no need to press the panic button, promising that the players would look at the mistakes they made in Sri Lanka and try to improve in every department of the game before the next series against Australia and New Zealand “We have time to find our rhythm again in the batting and bowling departments,” he concluded.
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