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Misbah says criticism of Pakistan valid after series defeat

January 7, 2021 GMT

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Coach Misbah-ul-Haq admits Pakistan deserve to be criticized after losing the test series to New Zealand 2-0.

“The criticism is valid,” Misbah told the Pakistan Cricket Board podcast on Thursday, a day after losing the second test by an innings and 176 runs inside four days at Christchurch.

“The people who criticize are those who believe in this team’s capabilities and the potential of this team.”

Pakistan suffered a major blow at the start of the tour when captain Babar Azam broke his right thumb and couldn’t play a single match.

But without Babar, Pakistan showed lot of fight in the first test before getting bowled out late on the fifth day to lose by 101 runs. Left-hander Fawad Alam scored a fighting century while stand-in captain Mohammad Rizwan also made a gallant half-century before New Zealand dismissed the tourists with only 27 balls remaining in the game.

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“We showed potential in phases, like in the first test when we were down and out in both innings but fought and brought it to a stage where we were five overs from a draw, from nowhere,” Misbah said.

“You see that and of course fans then have expectations, and then from there when your performance goes down, then the criticism is justified.”

The heavy defeat this week left fans fuming, especially after Pakistan dropped more than half a dozen catches and fast bowlers claimed wickets off no-balls before New Zealand posted a daunting total of 659-6 declared.

“The biggest thing in front of us, that we have seen in the past with Pakistan cricket as well, is our dropped chances,” Misbah said. “That has really affected our chances in this series. We missed a lot in both tests, in which if we had grabbed them, we could have taken the test further, but we missed them. We need to work on that.”

Misbah said Pakistan played below to its potential in all three departments, and hoped the lessons in New Zealand will help them to play much better against South Africa in the home series starting this month.

“That’ll (series against South Africa) be a good opportunity for us to review and try and improve, and to bring back the confidence that has been shattered in this series,” he said.

“In home conditions you’ve played all your life, that gives you confidence. The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has had good performers, so we will look at them, too. The mistakes we made here, what we lacked, we need to analyse those and move forward.”

Hassan Ali is likely to come back after the fast bowler recovered from back injury and claimed 47 wickets in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Ali led Central Punjab and shared the trophy after a sensational tie in the final against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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