Aus v Pak, 3rd QF, Adelaide March 20, 2015

Fitness, fielding, batting substandard - Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq labelled Pakistan's fitness, fielding and batting substandard, as he bows out of ODI cricket and his team exits the World Cup. Opener Sarfraz Ahmed was the only Pakistan batsman to hit a hundred in the tournament, and though Wahab Riaz claimed 16 wickets, no fewer than six catches were dropped off his bowling, including two against Australia.

"We need to improve our batting," Misbah said. "This has been now a problem for almost three, four years. We are not up to international standards. And also fielding is another aspect where all the other international teams are really going up to a higher level, and that comes with fitness.

"A lot of steps have been taken by the cricket board to try to develop a fitness culture in Pakistani domestic cricket. But still, we are not there. If we don't improve, we're going to suffer in the future."

Though Wahab bowled one of the greatest spells in World Cup history early in Australia's chase, Pakistan suffered from having made only 213 themselves. Their innings was characterised by middling scores from the top seven, and the lack of substantial partnerships. Their largest stand was for the third wicket - a 73-run association between Misbah and Haris Sohail.

"We were really going well at one stage, but after 20, 23 overs, suddenly we just keep losing wickets. That's been the trend throughout the World Cup. We are getting starts but we are not converting that into bigger scores. After six batsmen keep doing that, it's really difficult for your bowling lineup to defend totals like that every day - especially on batting pitches like we were playing on today.

"We need to really learn about this. We've got only one hundred throughout the tournament, and this is not how you win tournaments like the World Cup. You need batsmen who will score hundreds, and I think we as a batting unit failed to do that."

The quarter-final was also Shahid Afridi's last in ODI cricket, if he adheres to his current retirement plans. Misbah spoke of the outstanding Pakistan players both he and Afridi have played with in their time.

"It was really an honour for me to just represent my country, and I really enjoyed my cricket. I've given everything and so has Afridi. He put in a lot of effort for Pakistan and we really enjoyed that.

"The message for the youngsters is that if you really want to compete in the world, you have to really work hard. That's what our seniors did. That's what we learned from all our greats. I really enjoyed playing cricket with some of the greats like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis. The kind of fighting spirit I've seen in them - I think we need to just take that as an example. This is the only way."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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