It could not have been a more chastening start to Misbah-ul-Haq’s tenure as Pakistan head coach and chief selector with the Men in Green ending up on the receiving end of a 3-0 T20I whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka on home soil.
That it came against a second-string Sri Lanka side missing as many as 10 senior players was even more embarrassing and it has led Misbah to openly question the domestic system of the No1 ranked T20I outfit in the world.
“This series has been an eye-opener for us and everyone else. These same players have been around for a while now,” the Pakistan coach stated after his side’s 13-run loss in the final T20 at Lahore.
“It is more or less the same team which made us No1 and has been playing together for around three to four years now.
“The result of series is also an eye-opener for our system as well. If we can lose to a side without its main players how did we think we were number one?”
While Misbah has questioned his side’s T20I credentials, his own selections including the recalls handed to Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad have been criticized by many in Pakistan’s cricket circles.
Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I rankings under previous head coach Mickey Arthur was an impressive one with the Men in Green winning 11 series on the bounce before running out of steam in the current year.
Misbah, however, has scoffed at any suggestions that the change in Pakistan’s T20 fortunes is due to a change of coach and strategy.
“I haven’t done anything in the last 10 days that could have deterred anything,” he quipped.
“If you want to put responsibility on me you can but in this brief time since I took charge how big a difference could I created with my coaching? The strategy was simple – to cash in on the powerplay and later go all out in the last five overs.
“These are the same players who took Pakistan on top but in this series they were not able to execute things well with the bat, ball and while fielding.”
A visibly irritated Misbah even resorted to sarcasm on being further prodded on the team’s failure in his first T20I series in charge as head coach.
“Maybe I did something? Probably I made our right-hand batsmen switch to left-handed batting or maybe made our right-handers bowl with the left arm or vice-versa? In terms of strategy, nothing really has changed but I am thinking what went wrong,” the former Pakistan skipper stated.
With the T20I World Cup in Australia just over a year away, Pakistan will have to quickly rediscover their magic touch if they are contend for the trophy. Their next T20I test will come on Australian soil as well with the team set to play three matches against the hosts beginning on November 3 at Sydney.
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