Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi October 24, 2011

'Our fielding let us down' - Mohsin

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's interim coach, has blamed his team's poor fielding for the draw in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan dropped six catches in Sri Lanka's second innings after taking a substantial lead, including one off double-centurion Kumar Sangakkara and one off Prasanna Jayawardene; the pair put on a match-saving 201-run stand.

"We were particularly good with both bat and ball in the first three days of the match, but our fielding let us down in the end," Mohsin told Pakpassion. "Catches are not dropped on purpose but we dropped some crucial catches at crucial times in the match and we suffered in the end due to those dropped catches."

Mohammad Hafeez spilled three chances in the slips. "We have five or six fielders who can field in the slip region, but some of these boys had minor injuries to their fingers and were unable to field in the slips for long periods, so we opted for a rotation policy in the slips.

"Taufeeq (Umar) was particularly troubled with a finger injury, which ruled him out of fielding in the slip cordon. Sometimes even the easiest of catches are dropped, that is cricket, but there is no excuse for dropping some of the catches."

Much was expected from offspinner Saeed Ajmal on the fourth and fifth days, but he ended up conceding 167 runs in 55 overs and took only one wicket. "There was only a little bit in it for the bowlers, but largely it was a flat pitch ideal for batting," Mohsin said. "The turn that Saeed extracted was slow and the bounce was low, which unfortunately didn't help him. If there had been a bit more pace and bounce in the pitch then Saeed would have been more effective. He bowled very well, he bowled his heart out, he gave his all but in the end the pitch negated his efforts."

Mohsin praised the pace attack comprising Umar Gul, Junaid Khan and Aizaz Cheema for dismissing Sri Lanka for 197 in the first innings on a flat pitch. "I have a lot of admiration for the efforts of young pace bowler Junaid Khan and for Aizaz Cheema. In the immense and, at times, unbearable heat, both of them bowled with great heart and effort in conditions that were very tough for quick bowlers.

"Umar [Gul] has a few minor niggles but it's nothing serious. We feel he is most effective bowling short spells when in good rhythm and it was his first international game back. His efforts in Abu Dhabi will give him a lot of confidence ahead of the remaining matches."

Pakistan were set a target of 170 in 21 overs, but they decided not to go for it. "We decided during the innings break that we would see what the approach from the opposition was," Mohsin said. "We wanted to see what sort of bowling and fielding tactics they were going to employ. Right from the first ball the Sri Lankans set a very defensive field, with men placed on the boundary right around the ground.

"The field set was within their rights of course, but we felt we didn't want to make a mess of things and go for the chase. It was a tough chase in any case, especially against Sri Lanka who are a good fielding side and have a steady bowling unit. We decided that given the field set, we would opt to bat out time."

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  • S.Alis on October 27, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    PCB Team management and team decision to not chase let everyone down. A cowardly decision. i lost all interest after 2 overs in last inning and stopped watching. felt like i wasted my time when there was a chance to win. i wonder what were you guys doing in five days when you don't have courage to try to win a match. At-least try for 10 overs and see the results, If you lose few wickets then just draw it. A professional team can't even survive another 10 overs? What a shame.

  • Aragorn_11 on October 25, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    I think Pakistan played well, for the first time, in A LONG TIME, they scored 400+ runs in an innings against a top international team, even declared and only the batsmen batted...yes the fielding let us down, no doubt ( probably would have won by an innings if we caught them!), but I have no problem with their tactics after being set 170 runs in 21 overs...I dont think I have ever come across a team who has done that in a Test match...look we're playing TEST CRICKET...and finally we have cricketers playing with a TEST's always been our problem...Akmal, Afridi, Razzaq and co should be used in shorter formats, come on even Afridi accepted this when he quit from Tests!

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    i think PCb needs a complete overhaul. Its good that Mohsin khan was the coach as well. It clearly describes the mindset of selectors, as he is apparently the Chief selctor aswell. Its a pity that Pakistan cudnt take any advantage of the invention of T20. They cud have gone for it. pity big pity.

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Pak team missed the chance in the first innings when they scored only 511 runs in over 2 days. Even when we had over 200 runs lead our batsmen did not go for quick runs. Asad shafiq scored only 26 of 94 balls and he came to bat at 436 for 4. I think this is were we let SL off the hook. IF Pak had scored more runs in the last 25 overs of their first innings then we would have been chasing under 100 in the last 21 overs.

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    "Catches are not dropped on purpose but we dropped some crucial catches at crucial times in the match and we suffered in the end due to those dropped catches."

    1 miss catch is OK 2 miss catches could happen 3 miss catches, no one is perfect 6 miss catches? I see another probe coming down

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    Oh this must be a joke!!! Does mohsin khan think we are kids!!! NO doubt that catches were a huge factor for us losing but STILL there is no reason to be soooo defensive to not even try to chase the total... Extremely dissappointed with the result... the blame goes mostly to Mohsin khan for throwing out umar akmal and selecting such a defensive side with such a negative approach to the game...

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    it was not the fielding but the negative approach that let us down... the team management need to learn a lesson from the B'desh skipper how he declared when there is a possibility that the West Indies can win that test match

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    we should not blame misbah entirly.I think the winning opportunity was lost coz of poor leadership of team management . if Misbah was too defensive ,where was Mr coach Mohsin who only know bully against young talented players like umer akmal.Mr Mohsin i have a question for you what will pakistan team do under your leadership and coaching in T20 when the opposite team will score 170 runs in 20 overs.Will you send team for batting or just give other team a victory by walking away. shame on you.

  • Hawk_Pk on October 24, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    "'Our fielding let us down' - Mohsin "I wonder what else for you were there...

  • dummy4fb on October 24, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    i think you guys dont know ABC of cricket,, how could you chase 171 in 21 overs in test match,,, i give you some facts,,, 1:- No Power Play In Test Cricket,,,2:- No Fielding Restrictions,,3- No Razzaq,,No Afridi No Akmal (20/20 players) in Test expect Taufiq,,Asad,,younis and Azhar to score 9 runs per over,,,come on wake up guys and use your brain,,,misbah is good captain,,his bad luck is fielders dont take catches,,,if wahab held on to jaya's catch still pak have won the was your so called future captain Hafeez who droped catches,,,why no one is blaming Hafeez,,why every one blaming Misbah,,,

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