India v Pakistan, World T20 2016, Group 2, Kolkata March 20, 2016

'Need to work a lot on our batting' - Malik

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After yet another loss to India at a world event, Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik highlighted the team's batting as the main area in need of improvement.

"Victory and defeat happen in the game. I think there are a few areas where we need to improve, especially our batting, even though it was a tough pitch to bat on," he said. "I think that we could have set a better target. There is another thing: we may have lost matches to other teams, not beaten them in World Cups, but when it comes to India, it just becomes bigger. But we must give credit to the Indian team for the way they played on a difficult pitch."

Pakistan won their opening game of the World T20 comprehensively and regained some confidence after a poor showing in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. They posted a mammoth 201 to set up a 55-run victory over Bangladesh at Eden Gardens. On Saturday, at the same venue, they huffed and puffed to 118 in 18 overs.

Malik said that the nature of the pitch, which began turning sharply from the second over onward, had taken both teams by surprise. He also indicated that losing the toss in a rain-curtailed game had further stacked the odds against Pakistan.

"If you compare the last wicket we played on and this one, we couldn't see much difference. In fact, this was looking a better wicket, but as I said that even Dhoni mentioned that even he didn't think the wicket would spin that much, but we can control these things," Malik said. "We couldn't win the toss so that was also… that is part of the game. These things are not in your hands, but there is one area we need to improve and that is our batting.

"Our total was not enough to defend against such a great batting line-up. We should give credit to Virat Kohli's innings. He was the only difference between the two teams. He backs his skills and that's the key. He reads the situation well. He knows how to play on any track, whether flat or tricky. That's why he's very consistent. You're the best coach of yourself. If you talk to yourself, you will have all the answers. As a batting unit we also need to do the same thing."

One of the tactical surprises during Pakistan's innings was Shahid Afridi elevating himself to No. 3 in the batting order, at the expense of Mohammad Hafeez, who batted at No. 7. Afridi consumed 14 balls to score eight runs. Hafeez came in with only ten balls left and scored a run-a-ball five. Malik explained the shuffle in the batting order came about as a result of Afridi slamming 49 off only 19 balls a few days ago against Bangladesh. Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan had also recommended Afridi moving up the order during a television appearance.

"T20 is a format in which everyone is flexible," Malik said. "Our opening pair had played a lot of overs and, given Afridi's previous innings, the way he played in the last match, we couldn't ignore that and the captain always leads from the front. He felt if he went in to bat at that time, we could score quickly because the wicket wasn't easy. That's why we took the decision we did."

Pakistan began their defence of 118 in earnest as Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Sami left India at 23 for 3. But a 61-run partnership between Kohli and Yuvraj Singh for the fourth wicket took the game away. Amir, who conceded just three runs in his first two overs, was taken off and brought back when the game was all but lost, in the 14th over.

"Yes we could have brought Amir back for a breakthrough, but if you look at it, Mohammad Sami had taken two wickets and there was a spinner at the other end because the ball was turning," Malik said. "And when a bowler gets a wicket, he gets his second over. For sure, our bowlers bowled well, but our total wasn't enough to defend against such a great batting line up.

"One of the things we could have done differently is that we could have played the sweep or the reverse sweep against the spinners. When the ball turns, then those shots are helpful and it hurts the spinner's line. Like against pace bowlers you go down the wicket and try to hit. I think that it's the same thing. [So] Batting is the one area that we need to work a lot on."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • khandakh313 on March 22, 2016, 9:28 GMT

    Dear Malik you said "need to work on our batting" what were you guys doing all this time. You are one of the most experienced batsman in the side, you should have taken the bulls by the horns and told your captain that I will bat at number 3 and you can count on me. If you look at Mahela Jayawardene later part of his career in T20s he would open the innings while you cannot score consistently at any position. Smashing spinners on batting wickets is no batting It matters when you are facing a formidable opponent under bowling conditions. Still working on batting......OMG you have to realize that if you lose match against New Zealand you are pretty much out of the World Cup.

  • khandakh313 on March 22, 2016, 7:29 GMT

    Dear Malik you said "need to work on our batting" what were you guys doing all this time. You are one of the most experienced batsman in the side, you should have taken the bulls by the horns and told your captain that I will bat at number 3 and you can count on me. If you look at Mahela Jayawardene later part of his career in T20s he would open the innings while you cannot score consistently at any position. Smashing spinners on batting wickets is no batting It matters when you are facing a formidable opponent under bowling conditions. Still working on batting......OMG you have to realize that if you lose match against New Zealand you are pretty much out of the World Cup.

  • _yourstruly_ on March 21, 2016, 17:36 GMT

    While Pakistan can produce good bowlers one after another it takes decades to see anyone worthwhile in the batting sector. Result: one dismal performance after another on world stage. One major reason for Pakistan's dearth in producing world class batsmen is a fundamental flaw in their neighborhood cricket avenues. Many years ago when I visited Pakistan I was appalled to see that Lahore Development Authority (LDA) had converted many of the Cricket pitches in neighborhood playgrounds to cement pitches presumably to lower the cost of maintenance. I suspect that many DA's of other major cities followed and adopted cement pitches as standard. This is a fundamental flaw in training the would-bees of tomorrow. On a cement pitch the ball just slips. No swing to a fast ball and no turn to spin. So the batsmen groom to knowing only the fast and straight balls. Then we see nothing but horror on their faces when they see the ball swinging and turning on turf wicket. PCB should address this issue

  •   Khaista Rehman on March 21, 2016, 17:09 GMT

    prem: 1. ...amir...quality batsman around the world....it means rohit is not quality batsman. 2. ...their think tank....remember junaid khan when pak beat india in india and what the indian commentrator (india think tank) were saying about poor indian team.

  • manii-ji on March 21, 2016, 13:49 GMT

    Nobody looking at wahab riaz's performance, he is not bowling at a good line and lenght. He just have a good pace and no swing. All batsmen use his pace to make runs. Wahab is only good in domestic and not in international cricket. He could have been replaced with junaid khan, who is a very talented bowler.

  • M.gundroo on March 21, 2016, 11:54 GMT

    no scope for 4 fast bowlers on these pitches. Medium pacers and Spinners are better suited for these pitches and one must be able to pace of the ball Pakistans best hope, 2 fast bowlers are enough maximum 3 as long as they are accurate .Drop Whab and Sami and bring in Anwar Ali for slow pace if you want to play want to 3 pacers.Bring in Nawaz and Wasim. Look at NZ how they dropped their best fast bowlers for virtually unknown spinners S

  •   Prem Vijayaram on March 21, 2016, 11:39 GMT

    I don't understand on what basis are fans saying Afridi's captaincy was fantastic. He did not have any clue to counter the batting of Kohli and Yuvaraj. Just because India were 20 for 3 doesn't mean that Afridi led them well. Few reckless strokes from Indian top order....Yes Mohammad Amir is a good bowler but not an invincible bowler.. let him play more matches ...quality batsman all around the world will sort him out. Pakisthan never got the basics right...frankly they still have the shiver in the spine playing against India in India....their think tank gets shut off when they get in to the ground with India.. no matter how loud they say things in dressing room or at press conference.

  • Mobeen92 on March 21, 2016, 11:08 GMT

    Pakistan evelen against NZ should be: Shazad, Sharjeel, Hafeez, Umar, Malik, Afrid (Cap), Sarfaraz (WK), Imad, Nawaz, Amir, Irfan.

  •   Khaista Rehman on March 21, 2016, 9:11 GMT

    Thanks that Afridi is still leading this team under strange PCB system. We won against Bangladesh due to Afridi. We always ignore the role of other 10 players and the role of inner and poor system of PCB. Only captain, players, coach, chairman and selectors are not responsible. We should also see insight system of PCB. Aamir was fantastic and it looked like that Indian top of top batsman's were very very weak against Aamir. But Irfan, Wahab and experienced Malik and Afridi were not doing good bowling. the score was enough that,s why 20 for 3. Poor fielding was also the reason of lose. Afridi captaincy was great that's why top Indian batting side was under pressure even with 118 runs. We should support Afridi and should be +ve to win against the great teams of NZ and Aus. As a cricket fan we need wins. PCB should support Waqar, Afridi and all team players to give you wins. In the past we used to win against India and can do it again but we should be patient and +ve.

  • beautiful on March 21, 2016, 9:10 GMT

    Imad Wasim must be included in all team. Drop either Wahab or Sami. Indian pitches are spinners wickets so use your spinners. Sami was lucky against Idia.The two wickets were played on not bowled. And by including Imad you have another batsman

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