ISLAMABAD - Pakistan cricket team’s defeat against Sri Lanka in both Tests put pressure on the new coaching staff as now they have to ‘do more’ to prove their credentials.
Pakistan were giving mixed performances for the last several years under different foreign and local coaches. But Najam Sethi took bold step to hire some very professional and skilled coaches to improve the standard of the national team. The recent Test defeats have now put extra pressure on fresh lot of coaches but one thing we have to accept is that Sri Lankan team was on their peak as they recently defeated England in Test matches. They are also T20 trophy winners and the home advantage suited them a lot and helped them outclass the green shirts in both the Tests as they give befitting farewell to their brilliant and sterling batsman Mahela Jayawardene.
Pakistani batsmen, even the greats like Younus Khan and Misbah, didn’t show responsibility and played some very miserable strokes and gifted their wickets to not more than average Lankan bowling. Especially the way they failed to cope with Herath bowling was quite unbelievable. There is little doubt Herath is a good bowler, but it was not his extraordinary bowling, but poor shot selection of batsmen, which led to their downfalls.
The only positive thing in both the Tests was the way wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed scored loads of runs against all the Lankan bowlers including Herath. It was enough to show others how to play against spinners on flat tracks. The wickets were not behaving too much. It was the batsmen, who offered their wickets to Herath.
Sarfraz deserves all the credit for his brilliant run with the willow. He scored 265 runs in four innings at a whopping average of 88.33 and scored half century in all the four innings including one superb century, his maiden one and all under pressure. All the other batsmen including skipper Misbah were big flops with the only exception of Younus, who did managed to score a big 100 in the first Test but failed to continue his good run.
There was a big question mark on the Test team selection. Khurrum Manzoor failed to score even handful of runs in both Tests. It was time and again mentioned that Khurrum lacked the technique and patience required for a Test player, but he was given the nod just because of Moin Khan.
One must give credit to Pakistani bowling, as almost all the bowlers rose to the occasion with the only exception of Abdul Rehman, who was a big flop. The time is ripe when the PCB should explore other options as youngsters are long knocking at the doors, but the reasons best known to the PCB and the selectors, faith is still being kept with aging Rehman.
Junaid was arguably the pick of the bowlers as credit must be given to fast bowlers who played brilliantly in the second Test and the way they managed to restrict Sri Lankan batting. PCB’s new chairman must decide about the future of the coaching staff, about which he himself said the coaching staff was too heavy, and he was also quoted as saying: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”