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

Younis defends younger players

Umar Farooq in Dubai

January 10, 2014

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Younis Khan winds up to hit the ball, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 3rd day, January 10, 2014
Younis Khan's patient 62 not out helped Pakistan recover from a precarious position © AFP

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

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Posted by jeffsani 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by cric925 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by mzm149 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.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2014, 4:11 GMT)

Great moral booster from younis khan!

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by Zahidsaltin 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?

Posted by atharsherwani 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.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 21:16 GMT)

top 3 are not suited. Ahmed is good limited over player and he needs lot of experience to switch so quickly among formats.

khurram has some technical issues. in 1 st innings, after playing so many balls he chased a wide one and here in 2nd almost similar.

about hafeez; i dont think you have to say more than this that tests are not for him. simple.

pak made mistake by not including Azahr ali. i am not sure about shaan as he is also not that good. but Azahr dispite having a poor year has done good in past few years at no3. Toufeeq umar got injured and then never selected again.

another youngster is Asad, but he is also going towards same direction. being technically correct and talented is not everything. you have to apply that and with consistency.

and young keepers. with a poor batting line up, cant afford to go with a tailender keeper like adnan or sarfraz. need more from these.

SL still on top. pak have to bat very well to save it. will be hard but not impossible.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 21:08 GMT)

asim kamal should have been selected. drop hafeez get azhar ali drop asad shafiq and give sohaib maqsood a chance sarfraz ahmed is worse then a tailender has pak got no wicketkeeper in its entire domestic cricket??? rahat ali is a joke get hammad azam in can bowl and bat for asia cup bring in sami aslam hamad azam hassan raza in the team also have a look at kramat ali the u19 leggie

Posted by hoodbu on (January 10, 2014, 20:57 GMT)

Younis is such a classy man. So gracious.

But Hafeez has been around for 10 years. what's his excuse?

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 20:28 GMT)

Younis and Misbah are always to recover the dents made by openers...

Posted by Tornado1 on (January 10, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

Younis is such a lovely man. Great character really unlike the others...

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 19:32 GMT)

M Hafeez is not a right option for test cricket,we all know his performance against good teams is bad.Taufeeq omar can be a good replacement for him in tests

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 10, 2014, 19:07 GMT)

Just look at the Pakistan batting line without Younis and Misbah and it tells it all. I just Wonder, what will they do in a couple of years. You have mediocres with batting averages in low 30s and that too they accumulate against lower level teams. Try Sami Aslam, Sohaib Maqsood and let Fawad Alam establish himself instead of so called tecnically correct Asad Shafiq who seldom scores. Out with Hafeez from the test team.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 10, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

How many more years Hafeez has to play to bat like you Younis? Now he has scored an 80 notout in a dead test where there was no pressure and a wicket where even a Club crickter could score easily. And that 80 will keep him in the team for 2 more years, right? why not understand that he can only bat on a flate wicket, like the ones we use in limited over matches. Shehzad is never going to be a test opner, his batting style tells it all and Manzoor is not even close to being a test opner. You can't go on selecting someone who has had a couple of good nocks. Even tail-enders have some good knocks now and then. Pakistan must try Sami Aslam as opner with Taufeeq Umar. Or may be Sami and Azhar Ali and then play Sohaib Maqsood at 3.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

WHERE is Yasir Hameed??? Bring him back at opening position...

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

Younis,can you also pin point the performance of hafeez please.Why can't he play down the order like at asad shafiq place.May be we can try that and have asad shafiq batted on one down.

Posted by amumtaz on (January 10, 2014, 17:46 GMT)

Bring back Taufeeq Umar. The last opener to score a double century (2011) since Aamir Sohail (1992). He is the only batsmen with the right temperament to replace Hafeez in the top order.

And for the last time, let it be known, Hafeez is not a top order batsmen and will never be. He has never worked out his mistakes and will never be considered a top quality batsmen. Drop him while there is still time to bring back Taufeeq, Arshad and other quality batsmen.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

When will selectors learn that Hafeez is good for nothing, he scored useless 80 in 2nd innings when the game was already gone and now based on that he will play all through the test series.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

A True Legend of Pk right now:)

Posted by applethief on (January 10, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

Interesting how he offers no excuses for Hafeez. Hardly a younger player, Hafeez has had far too many chances to prove he can play at the highest level, and is still failing. He needs to go.

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