Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 3rd day January 10, 2014

Younis defends younger players


At 19 for 3, Pakistan seemed to be heading towards an inevitable defeat, but Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq both scored fifties to keep Sri Lanka at bay on the third day. The hosts still trailed by 91 runs at the end of play, but Younis insisted that the team's fightback would continue. Younis was unbeaten on 62, while Misbah hit 52 not out, as the pair put up an unbroken stand of 113 for the fourth wicket.

"I tried to fight back," Younis said. "In the end, it was good that I had a partnership with Misbah. The seniors always perform whenever the team needs them to, so that's good."

What would have hurt Pakistan is the fact that their bowlers had actually done well to dismiss Sri Lanka within 28 overs on day three, conceding only 70 runs in the process to keep the visitors' lead at 223. The hosts, however, immediately collapsed and lost Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and Khurram Manzoor in quick succession. Given Pakistan's recent batting performances, it would have been safe to assume that the rest of their batting would also fold, but Younis and Misbah stayed firm to launch a counterattack.

"What was needed was to keep it simple on the pitch and play according to the situation. It's always good whenever Misbah plays with me as we just take singles and we try to cash in on easy deliveries. It was the same when I was with Yousuf, with whom I had a big partnership."

When asked why the youngsters like Shehzad and Manzoor were not taking on the responsibility, Younis said: "Ahmed is new to Test cricket so I think we must give him some time. Khurram is doing well as he has had some experience in Tests. I hope they learn from their mistakes. I think if they play for 14 years, they will also play like us. It's as simple as that."

"Khurram has played 10 Tests while it's just the start for Ahmed. I think that with time they will learn, especially after playing so many T20s and ODIs. When you play an ODI, you field for 50 overs and then bat.

"But in Test cricket, you sometimes have to field for more than 150 overs and then go open. The first four batting positions are very crucial in Tests, so you can say it has something to do with their fitness, as much as their experience. If you look at them after five years, maybe you will say they are batting better than us."

Despite the recovery, Pakistan are still facing an uphill task, with Asad Shafiq the only reputed batsman left to come. Still, Younis is optimistic that Pakistan can take a commanding lead.

"The first target is that we get a lead of around 220. Something like 200-300 runs on the board will be good for us. One thing that happened in Abu Dhabi was that the ball was seaming, but they [Sri Lanka] took the match away from us," he said. "So I thought if we played correctly and according to the situation, we could be in a similar position. If we cashed in on one or two sessions and stayed there together, you never know. Anything can happen on the last day."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Javed on January 11, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    Pakistan Slip fielders are very very poor in fielding and catching So many vital catches in the slips have been dropped andwhen ever the opp side plays a shot in the slips it goes for four runs the all have butter fingers The Captain does not know how to arrange the slip cordon even in the fielf his arrangement is poor CAn nobody see this are they all blind Change the captain MR tuk tuk.a bad influence on other young aggresive batsmen when they come to bat and if he is there too he will at once talk with him and spoil his way of playing Being Captain they have to listen to him otherwise next match dropped.So many careers of aggresiveplayers Misbah has spoilt eg.theAKmal brothers.Noe shan Masood and many more so stop yjis bullshit and have a clean team if you want good results otherwise they will win 2 matches and series too but will fail badly in the longer run.

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    Out of Taufeeq Umar,Azhar, and asad, taufeeq has a far better avg. It is absolutely mind baffling that after an absolutely poor year in tests, he scores 100s in tests and hafeez is rushed back to the side.This is favoritism and if Misbah cant control that(hafeez has often said he is very close to misbah) then thats weak leadership.What message does it send to taufeeq?or upcoming players?

    About the vulnerability of Pakistani Batsmen to the moving ball and dead wicket batting styles, if PCB was proactive rather than political, that could have been resolved. In a country this big with so many different landscapres and climates, how about for domestic cricket(first class and List A matches) make different types of pitches across the country..Make pitches in north punjab flat,sindh seaming,KPK bouncy and quetta spinner friendly. with domestic teams travelling around, that will produce well rounded players.

  • Abu on January 11, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    CONTINUED: In my opinion, what PAK needs a strong batting coach, a friendly coach, who could inspire the batsmen to perform like responsible players, tigers, and not just ordinary batsmen. Without being disrespectful, some of the batsmen do not deserve to be in the team. I can quote example of a few Indian players, for example Virat, Shekhar and other young players when they go out they show on their face and their body language suggests they are going to KILL the opposition whatever the position they play at (though this happens mostly on their home wickets, and the recent SA tour is a testimony to it). You need a killing instinct in batsmen to play for their country. Imagine, three top batsmen just throwing away their wickets to ordinary balls when they were supposed to save the match. Y & M are not going to be there for long, but some younger players have to learn a lot to be mentally strong. UNLESS YOU ARE MENTALLY STRONG, EVEN A 'B' TEAM WILL LOOK LIKE A MOUNTAIN TO MOVE.

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    Talking from the place is easy to and face the situation you will come to know what does it mean of giving suggestions.

  • Muhammad on January 11, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    The most suitable place for Hafeez is at number 6. He should be given at least 10 overs with the ball in a day as well. Number 3 position is for players who can bat long even if they don't score with good strike rate. Azhar Ali/Asad Shafiq belong there. Khurram Manzoor is a failed opener. Shan Masood can be tried in his place.

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Great moral booster from younis khan!

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    ABOUT HAFEEZ, I think you guys are missing the point.Its not his job to point out hafeez's flaws and unsuitability for test cricket. BUT him not supporting him or giving an explanation is sort of passive-aggressive criticism in itself! Hafeez can go down the order and they need to play umar taufeeq.Out tail is far too long as well.

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    I personally believe that Khurram Manzoor can be a good opener in Pakistan, yes he has a few technical things to work on, but they can be fixed. For Zahidsaltin to say bring back Azhar Ali, is just incredible. He had quite a few chances as No.3 and didn't take them. Struggles against very good pace attacks, finds it regularly very hard to score. He is not the man to be No.3 for Pakistan, mind you your other two suggestions were also good. I'm not convinced about Asad Shafiq, I believe he is also a weakness in Pak team.

    Hopefully Younis and Misbah can carry this team again, but it shouldn't be left to them all the time.

  • shahid on January 10, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    Pakistani top 3 and specially Hafeez should be ashamed of their batting display where they played mediocre bowlers (Lakmal 15 tests 23 wickets @63) and Pardeep ( 4 tests 3 wickets) on slow batting wickets. Do they desrve to be here?

  • athar on January 10, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Standard of batting technique in Pakistan is based on dead wickets and undisciplined bowling where you can survive without moving your feet or getting right behind the incoming ball with a straight bat. Pakistan batting records show that younger players tend to play with bat away from their body, hence tendency to slice into the slips or getting inside edge on to stumps. May be they are afraid of getting body blows and hang out their bats and pray to get away with it. Alas, in Test cricket you cannot survive for long. I cannot see good future for our batsmen unless someone takes them by scruff of their necks and instil basic batting techniques. Till then our prayers alone will not do.

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