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Nobody justifying their place in the team: Misbah

Pakistan captain blames batsmen for second straight loss

Nobody justifying their place in the team: Misbah - Cricket News
Misbah ul Haq, captain of Pakistan.
Misbah, well‑played. Are these the best six batsmen in Pakistan? 
I hope so. When we came here, obviously, we thought that this is the best course and these guys were really performing for Pakistan.  

How frustrating is it for you as a captain and as a senior batsman to bat over there and see all the wickets falling around you and the innings falling apart time and again? 
It's really difficult and disappointing. Because even in the mid, it was less than six runs an over, and that was very much like a Pakistani pitch. You play time and time over on these sorts of pitches. It's not a match that you could say the wicket was difficult. I think, again, it's the application how the batsmen are just applying themselves and not getting runs.  

Also, Shoaib Malik, being a senior batsman given a chance at number four in a difficult situation doing nothing again; do you think he merited a position in the team? 
I mean, you definitely need to think about this after the tournament once the series is over. But I think at the moment, nobody is justifying their places on the team and nobody is getting runs for Pakistan.  

A very good support from the crowd here in Birmingham. Were you disappointed not to give them the win that they obviously wanted so much? 
Yeah, it is really disappointing. Two games on the trot, and the team could not score 170. It looked like an Asian pitch, we're used to playing on these pitches and it's really disappointing.  

Can you explain from your time out in the middle there why it was so difficult to get the scoring rate going more quickly? 
I think they were bowling well, and they got momentum. We just keep them losing because it's really difficult. We thought that we're now going to take a chance. I think we just lost momentum and kept losing wickets. I think that was the reason that we could not just pick the runs up.  

You changed your opening combination in the South African series where Hafeez was opening with Nasir Jamshed. Here, you put Hafeez in the one-down position. He's been playing international cricket since 2001, and he's in and out of the team; did he justify his selection in the Pakistan team as an opener?
The idea was because he had got a chance in Sri Lanka where he got 50 in the last game and he came to South Africa and played well in the Test match. Then, in an ODI he got 93 against South Africa. So that was the reason we played him.

We just keep on going with that. We were also having problems at number-three, so we decided to just put Hafeez at number-three. It worked in Ireland and in the practice game, but it's not working at the moment.  

You were chasing a relatively small total. We saw some late-order hitting from Wahab Riaz. Was the idea of the pinch-hitter from Shoaib Malik perhaps up in the order thought during the innings break? 
I think everything was ‑‑ you can say if you look at the average, everything was in control until Nasir Jamshed got out you were under pressure and you just lose from one of the set batsmen. Then I think Umar Amin got out, and we kept on losing wickets.

At no place we were really just having a good partnership. That is the reason that we didn't get any sort of momentum at the top. We lost either three, four wickets at the. So these sorts of situations are really difficult when your batting is performing like that.  

Umar Amin's conclusion today, was that because you were missing an all‑rounder in sort of Abdul Razzaq, and do you think he's better than Shafiq in the conditions? 
I think I said the last three, four innings could not level right. Even he struggled against South Africa, that's why. We also were keeping awareness that they might play another left‑hander, so that was also a reason to add a left‑hander in the middle-order. He played well against South Africa in the last game. That's why we just stayed with him.  

We saw Javed Miandad and Trend Woodhill working with Pakistan batsmen, but we still see there is no improvement in batting.  Do you think it's a case of too many cookers spoiling the food? 
I think whoever comes to the team works to improve certain things. At the end of the day I think it's you as a batsman or as a player how to apply things, and I think all responsibility then comes to the players, because you are the one who needs to perform.  

There were some boos there at the presentation which seemed to be aimed towards you. Do you have any message for the supporters? 
What can I say? This is a game of cricket. One day it's Zindabad, next day it's boos. Supporters are like that. I already said in a press conference that this is how things are. I mean, when you perform well, everybody appreciates you. When you produce these sorts of performances, I think they have the right to say this.  

Misbah, you've played the South Africans a lot lately over the past few months and you've played them just the other day at The Oval. Do you think they're improving into a side that could possibly win this tournament? 
They are a very good side. I think they are capable of winning that. In One-Day Cricket especially in this tournament, all eight teams are good enough to win the tournament. And South Africa are really playing good cricket, so they are having a chance to win.  

Misbah, my question is do you agree with me that the two matches against West Indies and against South Africa, Pakistan team was playing with six or seven players? 
After a bad performance, you can say that. But what you can say after this performance. I mean, if somebody's not delivering, this is also part of the game. But I think as a team the players need to just take responsibility. If you are not delivering as a player, ultimately, the team is going to suffer.  

You're saying some days people don't perform, other days they do. Unfortunately, the batsmen haven't performed for many years, yet they keep getting selected. How does Pakistan cricket get out of this mess with the batsmen? 
I think whenever you do performances like that people get dropped and you brought some other batsmen. But I think it's the major problem over the years for Pakistan, and we need to just address this.

I've already said this in South Africa that you need, if you want to really improve your nursery of batsmen, you have to just plan something about that. One suggestion was that you just send your players to Australia, South Africa, England, to just play first-class cricket because whenever the Pakistan team comes to England, South Africa, Australia, they struggle because of different conditions. And one way is you can arrange more “A” teams tours. This is one area we really have to look forward otherwise it will just keep on happening like that.  

I'm sure you must be aware that Pakistan had a grooming Hafeez as next captain in ODIs and Test matches. Hafeez has been pretty unsuccessful against top teams. Do you think Pakistan will be in safe hands once he's captain? 
I mean, I can't say anything about one of my colleagues like that. He's been performing for Pakistan and batting. Last year he was one of our top scorers and he's also in the top four bowlers. So, I think it is being consistent, you can say, a problem for Pakistan. Not only Hafeez, most of your top-order and middle-order batsmen are struggling. Whenever we come to South Africa, England, Australia, I think it is like that, and we have to address that on a permanent basis.  

Misbah, a lot of negatives from these two matches. Any positives? Anything that you think we've gained in the last few days? 
I think the positive is your bowling. They really, really are bowling very well. Your fielding is really improving. That is the biggest positive.  But as a batting unit, I think you can say it's total lost.  

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