Batsmen have to capitalise on starts - Misbah
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan Test captain, has said the team's 10-wicket win over New Zealand in Hamilton has given his side a lot of confidence and that they will be looking for another win in the second Test at Wellington, rather than seeking to protect their 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.
"Cricket is so fast nowadays that you rarely see a drawn Test match, unless the wicket is really flat," Misbah told PakPassion.net. "Our best policy for the upcoming match at Wellington will be to go for a win, rather than just consolidate our one-nil lead. I want my team to perform well, play good cricket and look to wrap up the series two-nil."
Misbah expects the Wellington pitch to be a sporting one that will lend itself to a result. With New Zealand obviously intent on evening the series, he says Pakistan will have to be careful not to let their advantage slip. "Our opponents, no doubt, will push us hard, as they will be going into the second Test on the back of a heavy defeat. They will be looking to level the series. We need to be wary of the fact that New Zealand will come hard at us. We will need to work even harder and ensure that we are even more focused in Wellington."
At the same time, Misbah also believes his side has room to improve. In the first Test, three batsmen made half-centuries, including Misbah, but were unable to convert them into big scores. "If you look at our batting in the first Test, a lot of us got starts and nobody went on to score a hundred," Misbah said. "What I would like to see is for our batsmen, myself included, to ensure that we make full use of our good starts, and ensure that we bat for long periods. If a similar situation to Hamilton presents itself, we should ensure that we earn a bigger lead than 92. I really want our batsmen to make sure that the good starts are not wasted."
Pakistan have cycled through four Test captains over the last 12 months, including Misbah, who was surprisingly recalled to lead the side for the South Africa series in the UAE, but he appears to have brought a level of stability to the team in the midst of the spot-fixing crisis. "Credit to all of the team for the fantastic way in which they have responded to me. I am hardly having to say anything to the side and everybody knows their role in the team. I'm seeing a great degree of professionalism and responsibility from all of the players, which is fantastic, and makes my job a lot easier. I'm seeing the right response from the players at the right time."
Misbah is particularly pleased with how the younger members of the squad have responded to the challenge of coming together and performing. "It is very important for senior and experienced players like myself to set a good example for the youngsters. However, it makes my life so much easier and it's very satisfying when I am given such a responsible and committed group. It is also heartening to listen to inputs from the younger boys in the squad in group discussions, and they deserve credit for the responsibility and application they are showing."
He also expressed his support for the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS), saying it should be used all over the world rather than being selectively implemented, as it is now. "I think the UDRS should be made compulsory in all international cricket, as I feel it's of help to the umpires as well as to the cricketers."
The second Test match against New Zealand starts in Wellington on Saturday. The Test will be followed by six ODIs.