Mirpur: Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez has defended Umar Gul’s ability to bowl during the death overs after he leaked 29 runs from two overs during his side’s crucial ICC World Twenty20 loss to the West Indies on Tuesday.
Pakistan were in control of their final group match after 15 overs of the Caribbean side’s innings, but Dwayne Bravo and captain Darren Sammy helped them take 82 runs off the final 30 balls as they posted a target of 167.
Gul and star spinner Saeed Ajmal bore the brunt of the punishment, which proved crucial as Pakistan crumbled to 82 all out in reply.
“Gul is our main bowler and has done well every time he has played in this format,” Hafeez said. “Whatever happened in the Asia Cup [when Gul was also expensive] has happened, but he was coming into this tournament with a good attitude and he had exhibited that in some of the matches. Unfortunately, today [Tuesday] was one of the off-days for him. We really want him to do well but unfortunately he couldn’t do it for the team.
“Ajmal and Gul are our main bowlers but they didn’t do the basics right. They leaked too many runs towards the end. We were thinking of restricting them to 125 or 130 but Sammy and Bravo played very well. After their knocks it was difficult to get back into the game.”
Of Pakistan’s reply, Hafeez added: “We didn’t get the momentum in our favour. We played some shots which were not there. It happens sometimes in cricket — you try your level best but things don’t work for you. This is one such tournament.
“I am disappointed with my own form, I couldn’t score runs for the team. You have to accept it, you have to move forward from here.”
When asked if his batsmen panicked, Hafeez replied: “As a team, we were very sure about our plans. The plans were very simple and that was to play good, technical cricket in the first six overs, score 40 to 50 runs and then whoever will get settled to take the game away.
“We couldn’t go according to the plan. Our batsmen didn’t play the best of cricket and losing too many wickets in the first six overs really cost us the game and we couldn’t get the momentum.”
Hafeez said Pakistan would now regroup before considering making any changes to the team.
“Good and bad, you have to take it together and look to the future. The selectors will see who are the players that need to be replaced. That is their job. The team is selected by the selection committee but the responsibility is on the players to do well,” he said.