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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 27, 2015, 22:58 GMT

    He forgot to mention he took Pakistani batting back by another ten years...

  • Dummy4 on March 27, 2015, 1:44 GMT

    Remember fielding is problem with all new comers. They can have talent and good training., but it is different on different grounds, crowd reaction, unaccustomed stress for these that can get worst made a mistake. Accept this as part of the game and growing process. Even seniors fail....

  • Tom on March 22, 2015, 21:38 GMT

    Misbah forgot to mention his own batting and captaincy was very poor. His behaviour at the post match presentation and later in the studio was rude and disrespectful. All he could do was blame Australia for his team's own poor performance and it was obvious he wasn't about to offer any well wishes to the team which so comprehensively defeated his own. I wish Pakistan well for the future despite the nature of their loss.

  • Shahzad on March 22, 2015, 19:10 GMT

    One of the legends of Pakistan cricket. Someone who will be remembered for a long time to come.

    A true fighter, imagine if he was a part of more stable batting lineup, he could have scored more than 10,000 ODI Runs given he was given enough matches when he was younger.

    Thank you Misbah for serving Pakistan cricket. We are proud of your achievements.

  • Gautam on March 22, 2015, 15:30 GMT

    Misbah was definitely the best player for PAK for last 6 years after the betting scandal that brought disrepute to the team and the game. He not only managed to revive PAK name by leading the team without any further controversies but also managed to bring them to significant glory in test cricket. The country should be proud of his leadership. My genuine bow to one and only one Misbah. I think he should continue for another 2-3 years as long as his body holds. Similarly, Younis should also be there in test team at least. They can make Wahab the ODI and T20 captain. Please don't go Aussie/Eng way of discarding seniors - it takes significantly longer to rebuild - if at all.

  • ram on March 22, 2015, 12:16 GMT

    I will hold two persons responsible for the low score of 213 by Pakistan in the the recently concluded Q/F. First is the captain who made a rash shot aiming for a six at a third rated bowler. Same is the story with Afridi who also went for huge sixes from the first ball he faced. These two batsmen should have guided the younger lot till 40th over and then go for big shots with at least 5 wickets in hand. I pity this team to see the so called senior players misguiding the junior players. In the final analysis I find even 250/60 would have been sufficient to beat Australia.

  • Imran on March 22, 2015, 11:08 GMT

    Pakistan in this world cup 2015 has been most ridiculous team with batting. Out of their 7 matches they scored above 250 only once that too against weak UAE. Whereas Zimbabwe out of their 6 matches 4 times they scored above 250 it means Zimbabwe batting is more better than Pakistan. Pakistan fielding no words to say, the catches which they dropped in Quarter final any spectator could have taken easily. If this is called Jazba is back Zimbabwe and Ireland is having more Jazba than Pakistan lol....

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 7:04 GMT

    I've been critical of Misbah at times for batting too slow but now that I've had a closer look I see Pakistan with nobody else to hold the batting together. Younis Khan has failed as a senior ODI cricketer. Pakistan really does need some quality batsmen and their fielding needs tons of improvement as well. Right now they are the worst fielding side in cricket and it has been that way for a long time.

    But it's not all doom and gloom for them. Their quick bowling has some serious potential and depth. In the modern day teams are often scoring 150+ in the last 15 overs. I believe express fast bowling is one of the few things that can stop that. If Pakistan can assemble a group a fast and accurate bowlers (and they can) they could consistently shave off 30-40 runs every time they bowl from that alone. And of course good fast bowlers take wickets early on in the innings which is better than anything else.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 5:34 GMT

    really sad to see him go but it's time. i think he should retire from test cricket also to give opportunities to others but i do want to see him play more

    im glad afridi is gone from odi side.. much needed spot for ANYONE else.. but pak team will sure seem weird without him

    younis must go.. from odi especially.. its time man just retire..

    what else.. shehzad has been really horrible.. when i saw guptils 200 i was just stunned and kinda understood why pak lost.. we stood no chance.. we're only better than bangladesh and equal to england to be honest

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2015, 4:24 GMT

    I get so infuriated at the criticisms of Misbah. Make no mistake, if it wasn't for Misbah over the last 5 years, Pakistan would hardly have won a game. He has been the back bone of the batting in Tests and ODIs. Pakistan's international players are the most unprofessional outfit I have ever seen. Their fielding is comparable to an English lower league club side, and maybe not even that good. They are extremely unfit and that is why they batsmen get out. They don't have physical, mental fitness or toughness to compete. I despair when people harp on about their talent. You ask any top level sportsman what's the most important aspect of becoming a world class sportsperson; and invariably the reply is hard work. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. 1% talent, 99% practice. They both mean the same thing. Pakistan are years behind the other sides and will continue to be until they increase fitness and commitment levels.

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