West Indies v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Barbados April 29, 2011

Captains want more from batsmen

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, while elated with the series win over West Indies, has stressed the need for his batsmen to step up. Pakistan took an unassailable 3-0 lead over West Indies in Barbados by chasing down 172, but they had to survive a top-order wobble as the first three wickets fell for 12. Misbah-ul-Haq, the Man of the Match, stabilised the innings and with support from Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam and Wahab Riaz sealed a three-wicket win with 29 balls to spare.

"There are still some problems, and I'm sure the management and coaches will come at us hard in the meetings," Afridi said with a chuckle. "The way the boys delivered in the series was good.

"The batsmen need to spend some time [in the middle]. We all know we made mistakes." Pakistan's batting, however, had come good in the first two ODIs where they chased down targets of 221 and 222 with considerable ease.

For West Indies, who are rebuilding after three of their senior-most players were left out, the problems with the bat were far more serious. In each of the first two games their batsmen were unable to build on starts, while in the third the middle and lower orders fell apart with the last six wickets falling for 21. The hosts fought hard with the ball, seamer Ravi Rampaul and legspinner Devendra Bishoo sharing seven wickets, but the runs on the board were inadequate.

"We as a batting unit, myself included, have to take more responsibility like Bishoo does with the ball," their captain Darren Sammy said. "It's about getting the formula right; we have had good starts but we haven't capitalised on it.

"The way forward is to gain experience. This group is not short on talent, we need to play and get more consistency. The selectors will meet now, maybe the team will stay the same [for the remaining matches in the series] but whatever happens we need to do well in the middle phase."

Misbah displayed lots of patience while steering his team out of trouble with an unbeaten 62 off 109 balls. At 148 for 7, the game was still wide open but Riaz, who had picked up three wickets, supported him well, finishing the game with two sixes.

"The pitch wasn't easy for us as there was bit more bounce and pace. I thought I have to bat till the end and we can win," Misbah said. "The ball gets soft as it gets old and you can handle it easily.

"I was telling Wahab to play his normal game. When just 10 runs were required, I told him, you can now go for one or two big hits."

Pakistan are currently ranked No. 6 in the ICC ODI team rankings, and will remain there even if they complete a whitewash. The system offers little rewards for wins against lower-ranked teams, and Afridi was critical of the concept. "I can't understand this system. There should be some advantage for the visiting sides as winning a series is never easy for them no matter who they're playing against," Afridi told Express Tribune before the third ODI got underway. "It's really difficult to prosper under the current ranking system. I have little clue what it is based on."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rishi on May 2, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    personal attacks against anyone is not cricket...so let us move on, it is easy to throw blame around but we need to come up with solutions. i just read the chanderpaul article, and i am convinced that he can be picked above at least one of these current batsmen in the currrent series. however the west indies board has made abundantly clear that they are going with a policy of blooding younger players and that is fair, we need to give them a chance. if however the allegations made by chanderpaul are true, then it is blatant disregard, and disrespect for one of the bastions of west indies cricket. if they wanted him to retire they could have given a good send off and many thanks. could it just be cost cutting?...west indies board needs to become financially accountable.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    Afridi is right. No one can deny the home advantage and Pakistan hasn't got one since ages. The system would be fine if half the matches were played at home and half away, but with international cricket out of Pakistan, it is having a really bad effect on us. Also, I'm surprised because if west indies is ranked 8th, we are ranked 6th. It isn't a wide gap.

  • Ayaz on May 1, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Afridi shouldn't talk about batting when he himself plays ill timed repeatedly failed pathetic slogs & gets out in no time

  • Dave on April 30, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    "A players heart cannot replace talent, effectiveness, efficiency and standards" we the West Indies have been coming in second place for too long. We are a result based society and clearly so far Darren Sammy hasn't provided, in my opinion the results we are looking for. This may sound harsh but the best thing that could happen to WI cricket at this time would be for Sammy to pick up an injury as this would clear space for some one who can be either a specialist batsman or bowler. our specialist wicketkeeper shouldnt be at the expense of an all rounder who clearly shouldnt be in the starting 11 in the first place.

  • PATRICK on April 30, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    Clearly the batting problem is not going to be solved in time to win the next match. They should concentrate on the batting lineup for the tests now and give those guys practice. Nash should brought back and dare I say it (as he is Australian born), forget the politics and give him the captaincy. He has shown great form in the recent 4 day game and frankly who cares about strike rate? WI can't even last 45 overs so it would make more sense with someone as the anchor of the innings. This would free up Sammy's spot for a specialist batsman/ bowler.

  • Douglas on April 30, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    Captain - you sure right. For 3 games in a row, we are unable to get to a minimum standard of 250 runs. So Sammy, CONVINCE THE SELECTORS TO SELECT BETTER BATSMEN in the side. They are MORE LIKELY TO LISTEN TO YOU. You have our best wishes. Let's see if you are convincing. GOOD Luck!

  • Douglas on April 30, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    Hillaire is leading West Indies to the grave with his "new blood" strategy. Well, it is not working as a sub-standard Pakistani team has them down 3-0.The only way to improve this performance is to pick the best team. Its painfully obvious that what you are doing is wrong and hurting millions of fans worldwide. I am all for change, but only if it is for good. Your strategy has failed. We have 3 world class batsmen in Gayle, Sarwan & Chanderpaul. Do the right thing. Bring them back. We will forgive you!

  • Douglas on April 30, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    West Indies need Gayle, Sarwan & Chanderpaul back. They are the best we have. Dropping them was the most foolish thing to do. Change is only good when it is for the better. Do the right thing and bring them back.

  • Basil on April 29, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    The ranking system is based on performances over a period of time. The 450th ranked tennis player doesn't go straight to number 1 for beating Nadal. The ranking system is based on consistency. I agree too much meaningless ODI cricket is played (3game series should be enough). Playing 3 games in a row in a place such as St Lucia ( 1 t20 & 2 ODIs) is really pushing the interest of the locals. Empty stands, but who can blame them? Give them one game and watch them pack it out.

  • Sayed Faraz on April 29, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    The West Indian fans need to give Sammy a break. I fail to understand why is it his fault if WI loses?!! Pakistan went through a similar rebuilding phase after the 2003 WC when so many senior players retired or were axed. When they made Shoaib Malik captain nobody was blaming SM for losing; it was the entire team's fault. Similarly they made Salman Butt captain and coincidently Pakistan won its first test against Australia and everyone thought it was because of Salman Butt and then he ended up getting banned for 10 years.... :/ you get my point? The team doesn't win just because of the Captain, we had two amazing bowlers in the side Mohammad Amir and Asif who led Pak to victory. The WI just needs to let this team settle and not make many changes; this is the mistake that Pak made from 2003 until now when Shahid Afridi insisted on keeping the same combination. This is how teams are built; over months and years not over single matches!

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