By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Sep 07 (APP): Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has clarified that Babar Azam is an independent captain and the coaching staff doesn’t interfere in his job.
Talking to media here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday, Misbah said: “T20I and ODI captain Babar Azam is an independent captain, who makes his own decisions. We, the coaching staff, never interfere in his matters but he has often been given advices by us.
“I have a wide experience of captaining the national side so I know the importance of freedom in decision making, that’s why we don’t want to put unnecessary restrictions on Babar. Being a young captain, he will surely make mistakes as even the experienced ones are not perfect. We all have to back him in this journey,” he added.
Talking about the presence of around 40-year-olds Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, the head coach said that both can be a part of the national team for the next Twenty20 World Cup. “It’s too early to write off someone because of their age. There is a lot of time between now and the World Cup. We will try out different combinations till then and identify our best 15.
“If you look at their previous two year’s record, they have done a reasonable job for the team and played some crucial knocks. Even if you look at Shoaib and Hafeez’s strike rate, it is according to the requirement of international cricket. I think both players can be a part of the Pakistan team for the next ICC T20 World Cup,” he asserted.
Misbah also defended Pakistan cricket team’s performance under him, saying that while the team may have slipped from No 1 to No 4 in T20 ranking, the slide had begun long before he took the seat. Reviewing the team’s recent tour of England and addressing several other topics, he said: “Of course, the team was No 1 but if you recall, when I took over the charge of head coach and chief selector, the team was on a losing streak. The team had already lost in South Africa, England and other places. The slide had already begun and everyone knows why that was.
“Some of our players were out of form. Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and then Hasan Ali, the main contributors to our rise up the ranking, when they went into a slump, the team also felt that dip. We are trying to take these and new boys back towards that level,” he said and added: “There is always room for improvement. Yes, the current results may not be what’s desired but overall, the process is up to my satisfaction and it seems that we are on the right track.”
The chief selector asked critics to go light on the team’s young pace battery, saying that mistakes made as seen in the first Test defeat are part of the learning curve and inevitable. “The bowlers are inexperienced. We’d have to give them room and opportunities.
If you take that one session out, it becomes evident that our inexperience made up panic. The same thing happened in the second T20 when one of our bowlers got injured, we panicked slightly. With the passage of time as they play more, they will improve,” he said.
When the national team was away and playing series against England in England, a slew of appointments at domestic level were made, which as per some reports, had not impressed Misbah, who purportedly wasn’t consulted. Misbah admitted that he wasn’t kept in the loop but intends to discuss the domestic business with National High Performance Centre Director Nadeem Khan.
“I was busy with the team there so could not get involved in the matters here. But now I’d sit with Nadeem Khan and discuss how things were done and how they could be done even better. When you’re in a professional setup, the names do not bother anyone.
You have to work together and adjust. It doesn’t matter what anyone has said in the past. If you keep the past in the mind then you wouldn’t be able to work,” he added.