Pakistan coach Arthur praises Babar and Masood's defiance during SA defeat

Waseem Ahmed 19:20 14/01/2019
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Babar Azam.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said it was imperative for his team to find a long-term solution to their batting problems as Sarfraz Ahmed‘s team succumbed to a 3-0 whitewash after losing the Jo’burg Test by 107 runs.

Arthur said the technique and approach of Babar Azam in the middle order and opener Shan Masood against the new ball was heartening in a series where the visitors’ batting line-up struggled against the pace and hostility of South Africa’s fast bowling attack led by Duanne Olivier who finished with 24 wickets.

Babar scored 221 runs in three Tests and Masood – who was a late replacement for the injured Haris Sohail – 228 runs. Both showed good technique against the pacers and Azam was especially severe on veteran quick Dale Steyn.

“I think Babar Azam was amazing and he has taken his cricket to another level. Questions have always been there surrounding Babar about his Test cricket. I think they will certainly disappear now. He will only go strength to strength from now. I think Shan Masood played exceptionally well. Asad Shafiq played two innings and that was significant for us. Others chipped in from time to time. But we did not get enough runs,” Arthur said after the match.

Pakistan’s next Test assignment is against Sri Lanka in September when the new Test Championship begins. After that they tour Australia and Arthur wants better preparation before a major tour.

“Outside of our own conditions, we’ve got to find players with a skillset to manage the bouncing ball going forward. We play Sri Lanka in the UAE in September, and then we play Australia in Australia after that. So we have to have our skillset perfect to manage the bouncing ball by the time we get there. We’ll get our Test batsmen into Australia three or four weeks before the games begin,” Arthur added.

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