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Not playing big innings cost us the Test: Safraz

Century-maker Shafiq feels that Pakistan could have won in partnership prolonged

Image Credit: AFP
Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq
Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad attributed his team’s defeat to his team’s batting show. He even candidly admitted that his team did not play better than Sri Lanka.

“I think we are not playing better cricket. Sri Lanka played much better cricket than us. We lacked in the batting. We didn’t play a big innings and that is what cost us.”

When the skipper was asked whether his batting collapsed due to too much concentration on how to counter Sri Lankan’s veteran spinner Rangana Herath? Sarfraz said: “Credit goes to them, they bowled really well, especially the spinners. Their fast bowlers took main wickets. Credit goes to all of them.”

Sarfraz revealed that the plan was to play positive cricket and reach the target. “We wanted to play positive cricket and rotate the strike but unfortunately we didn’t get and that is why we lost,” he said.

So what does this series defeat teach him and his players? “I got to learn a lot. We made many mistakes in the series. This was my first Test series as captain and it was pretty tough. Captaincy is very different in Tests — changes session by session. The toss is very important in Tests, especially in Asia. But even after losing the toss, we managed to get close to them but just couldn’t win it. We lacked in our batting, we didn’t play any long innings, didn’t capitalise on good starts. The kind of innings Asad (Shafiq) played, if we had gotten that in the last game, or in the first innings here, then we could’ve got out of it. I learnt a fair bit and I hope that whatever the next series is, we’ll try and improve on these,” he said.

To a query whether his team did not prepare well for the series, Safraz said: “If I say we didn’t do our full preparation, or we weren’t acclimatised to conditions, it is not right. We did our preparation in the time we had. We played a four-day game in Lahore. I think we just didn’t play this series well and to say we didn’t get the time to prepare is wrong. We didn’t avail the opportunities we had. In the first Test we got so close and could have won it but couldn’t. In the second Test we got a partnership but we made too many mistakes.”

When asked on why Babar Azam failed to deliver, Safraz said: “Babar Azam is a young player and is talented. I know he’s not had great performances in Test cricket but I don’t think he should be written off so quickly. He should be given more time in Test cricket. If we back him, he will be a good performer in the future for Pakistan.”

Asad Shafiq is delighted with his century and explained his knock. “My last four to five innings were not up to the mark. But I was positive. I was thinking positively. When I came to bat in this innings especially, I was thinking about attacking the ball. In conditions like this if you play maiden overs from this quality of bowlers, they will not give you easy runs. So that’s all that was on my mind, that I have to play positive cricket.”

Shafiq feels that if his partnership with his skipper would have lasted a little longer then his team could have won. “In the morning they took the new ball. We knew the first 10 overs the ball will move in whatever conditions. We knew they would put their fast bowlers on and we just had to negotiate that moment. That plan just didn’t work for us. They bowled really well, hit the right areas if we could have prolonged the partnership, maybe the result would have been different.”