Misbah-ul-Haq tells underperforming batsmen to step up or step down

Image courtesy of: The Telegraph

Ul-Haq noted that the performance of Pakistan’s batsmen would make or break their Caribbean tour

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has slammed his underperforming batsmen over their dismal run of form throughout the recently concluded Champions Trophy and has told them to either step up or step down.

During the tournament, Pakistan were unable to score more than 200 runs or face all of their allotted 50 overs.

“I think our batsmen must understand their game, the conditions which they are facing and then apply themselves,” ul-Haq said. “It’s the responsibility of the batsmen. It’s not that we were short on practice. We did prepare well for the tour but conditions in England were tough and our batsmen couldn’t handle them. I suppose that’s been the one area where we’ve lacked – scoring consistent runs. We had these same batting problems on the South Africa tour so we now have to try to sort them.”

Ul-Haq was the only batsman in the Pakistan side to put up any sort of fight as he scored two half-centuries out of the three matches the team played.

Ul-Haq noted that Pakistan’s batting line-up have to seriously pull their socks up as the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup looms over the horizon.

“The simple thing is that batsmen aren’t able to handle themselves,” ul-Haq added. “There are technical faults and we need to address them. Whenever we go abroad we will face such problems so we have to address them sooner or later. If we don’t improve, don’t learn, then such things will go on.

“We will have meetings in the next two-three days to finalise the team (for the West Indies tour). Changes are necessary and we have to sit down and discuss, make changes and plan who are the players to be groomed for the future. We can rebuild the team in the next two years by grooming players who are good enough.

“It’s not like we are picking the wrong players. We always try to select players who are good for the team, players who can win us games. These are the same set of players who have won us games. But now that they have not performed, you are saying they were¬†sifarshi¬†[unmerited recommendation] players. This is not the issue, they have done well in the past as well.”

Pakistan are currently in the Caribbean, where they will face the West Indies in five ODIs, with the first one starting today.

The first two ODIs will be held in Guyana, while the remaining three will be played in St Lucia.

The ODI series will be followed by two Twenty20 Internationals, both of which will be held in St Vincent.

Speaking about the West Indies tour, ul-Haq admitted that he was worried about the world-class players in the West Indian squad and added that the spotlight would once again be on the Pakistani batsmen.

“We will face slow pitches on the West Indies tour and need to graft our innings,” ul-Haq said. “If the batsmen give the bowlers a total of more than 250 then they can win us matches. I think it will again be a test of our batting in the West Indies.”

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