Batting disappointed us, we were prepared: Sarfraz

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  1. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    DUBAI: Pakistan Test captain Sarfraz Ahmed said that the team was fully prepared but the batting performance disappointed them.

    “We have learnt a lot from the test series,” he remarked while speaking to media after the match, adding that he hopes to not repeat the mistakes in the future test series.

    Sri Lanka's batting and bowling were exceptional, he said. Toss is very important in such conditions, said the captain who lost the toss twice

    While praising the performance of middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq, who scored 112 in the second innings of the second match, he remarked that if any player would have performed like this in the first innings of either the first or second test then Pakistan would’ve won for sure.

    Pakistan lost the second test against Sri Lanka being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday when the team was dismissed for 248.

    This was Pakistan's first Test series loss in the UAE since the team started playing its home matches there.

    Sri Lanka won by 68 runs, clean sweeping the two-match series. The last batsman, Wahab Riaz, was caught out at extra cover on a ball by Herath.
  2. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    Not playing big innings cost us the Test: Sarfraz

    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.”
  3. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    Will try not to sweep in crucial moments again - Sarfraz

    It is the kind of dismissal that can change the nature of a captaincy. Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq were building on their stellar work on the fourth evening and had already scored 27 runs in six overs at the start of the fifth day.

    As he has done thousands of times before, Sarfraz went down to sweep the fifth ball of Dilruwan Perera's over. He got nice and low, but the ball didn't - it bounced a little more, caught his top edge and landed in Nuwan Pradeep's hands at deep square leg.

    Pakistan needed 92 at that stage and this was the last specialist batting pair. They had already put on 173 and were in the process of turning the game around. More significantly, the new ball was due in eight balls and the situation demanded Sarfraz and Shafiq to be there to face it. Instead he was gone, and with it, Pakistan's hopes of a series-levelling win: they lost their last four wickets for just 23 runs, and with it went Pakistan's unbeaten, decade-long home streak.

    Did he regret the shot?

    "No, not regret," he said. "That is my shot and I play it a lot. In this innings I really checked myself, I didn't play too many shots but I guess, there is regret that I got out to it and the team was hurt because of that."

    It is correct that the sweep is his go-to shot against spin and he is very good with it. But, the situation as it was, this being his second Test as captain, and having been dismissed in the Abu Dhabi chase also attacking, it will, he admitted, make him rethink its deployment. A loose hook shot in his first Test as captain, after all, changed the nature of Imran Khan's batting.

    "It is the shot that I play, I've played it lots before and made runs from it," he said. "But I'll try and not play it at crucial moments again."

    That mistake merely compounded a whole series of collective ones Pakistan made through the two Tests. It constitutes the first real bump in Sarfraz's leadership, which hitherto has gone smoother than expected. He's won nine and lost two T20s that he's led in, and can already boast of a global ICC trophy.

    "I got to learn a lot from this. We made many mistakes. This was my first series as captain and it was pretty tough. Captaincy is very different in Tests - it changes session by session."

    His assessment of the defeat wasn't much different from Mickey Arthur's the previous evening. It wasn't the bowling, though Sarfraz did concede they could've gone with two spinners here. The biggest problems were of the batsmen, failing in a chase of 136, and then failing to make 300 in each innings in Dubai. But it wasn't just the order that was the problem.

    Shafiq's final day hundred was the only century for Pakistan in four innings, with seven fifties [Sri Lanka had two but both were big ones].

    "We lacked in our batting, we didn't play any long innings and didn't capitalise on good starts," Sarfraz said.

    "The kind of innings Asad played, if we had gotten that in the last game, or in the first innings here, then we could've gotten out of it. I've learnt a fair bit and I hope that whatever the next series is, we'll try and improve on these."

    Part of that could be attributed to a lack of game time. In contrast to Sri Lanka who came into this series battle-hardened with a full series against India behind them, Pakistan had not played a Test since May. Since the Champions Trophy win in June, they had only played three Twenty20s against a World XI, which, tough as they may have been, carried the air of exhibition games.

    Their only real preparation, for a series that began in the UAE as early as the last week of September for the first time, was a five-day training camp in Lahore. There had been some talk of an earlier arrival in the UAE for better preparation before the team left, but Sarfraz was happy they had done their work.

    "If I say we didn't do our full preparation, or we weren't acclimatised to conditions, it would be wrong. We did our preparation in the time we had. We played a practice 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 did our preparations right. We just didn't avail the opportunities we had. In the first Test we got so close and could have won it but couldn't."

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