West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Port of Spain March 31, 2017

'Gifted' wickets to Shadab - WI coach Law

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Shoaib Malik: 'Pressure is on West Indies now'

Shadab Khan has taken to international cricket in style. The 18-year old legspinner's statistics after only two matches for Pakistan read seven wickets at an average of 3, a strike-rate of 6.8 and an economy rate of 2.6. And the opposition he dismantled is not at all happy. West Indies coach Stuart Law thought his batsmen "gifted" some wickets away to Shadab and the best way to combat him was to be "more ruthless."

"We have plans for everyone. He's not the only one we're talking about, we're talking about everyone else. So we just need to come up with better execution when we're out in the middle and that's what it boils down to," Law said, "He's bowled very well, but I think we've gifted him a few wickets as well. I think we just need to be a little bit more ruthless against him and see what transpires after that."

The Pakistan camp, meanwhile, is reveling in their new young talent. Shadab has played such a starring role in their victories in the Caribbean so far that on each night he was named Man of the Match.

Among his 4 for 14 on Thursday were the wickets of Marlon Samuels, who top-scored with 44, and the finisher Kieron Pollard. If removing such key batsmen wasn't enough, Shadab got rid of them within 13 overs leaving the lower order vulnerable in a chase that should have been straightforward.

"I must appreciate and praise Shadab for the way he has been conducting himself, and taking wickets," team-mate Shoaib Malik said. "Obviously we all know, if you're playing against West Indies, you have to keep taking wickets. They are big guys, they hit boundaries and I think this is what we have been doing."

As a result, West Indies are stuck with a lot of questions and no ready answers. They have gone 0-2 down in a four-match T20I series and have to win Saturday's match to stay alive. Since they were crowned World T20 champions in March 2016 - and then beat India in a high-scoring match in Florida - the team has lost five matches in a row. All to Pakistan. Coach Law, while admitting the need to "start playing better cricket," cautioned against taking reactionary decisions.

"It's pretty new at this stage," he said. "We just want to take the emotion out of it tonight. Get up with a clear head tomorrow morning and start thinking about it.

"I think we are clicking. We're getting better. We've gelled really well as a team over the last couple of days. I don't think that's the case. I think we've just got to start playing better cricket. There's glimpses of our talent, we just need to have that glimpse for a lot longer.

"Our bowling has been excellent over the last couple of games, our catching's been outstanding, few mistakes in the ground fielding but our batting is where we need to really have a look. Apart from Marlon, no one's really gone in and got the scores. We've had a couple of starts, but I just think we need someone to go on and I think it's getting better. Fingers crossed on Saturday we turn up and play a proper game of cricket."

Pakistan have their mind firmly on winning their second straight T20I series against West Indies. In a SWOT analysis of the team's performance so far, Malik picked out their fielding as an improvement and their batting in the Powerplay as needing work.

"Positives, if you look at our fielding, that's where we've always lacked. But the way the guys are putting in an effort here, I think that's a great sign for Pakistan cricket. And our physical fitness. You could see even in the field, the guys roaming around, moving fast. And negatives. We really need to improve our first six overs in the batting. I think we're going to sit and talk about it and we will come up with something."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Niles Searles on April 4, 2017, 10:24 GMT

    What is wrong with all you people calling for Sammy are you PAK fans, cause every WI fan knows Sammy was lucky to be on the World cup team, and that only as captain, no bat, no ball. Russell is a cheat, Gayle is finished and Bravo one is mentally incapable of handling anything outside of trinidad and the other is too flaky and should stick to franchise cricket with his primo donna attitude.

  • zali649048073 on April 2, 2017, 18:33 GMT

    Dont know what he means by saying that batsman gifted wickets but bowlers these days dont get any credit for picking up a wicket i mean when a batsman scores a hundred where he is given alot of opportunities because of drop catches or no balls and wrong decisions he still gets credit for scoring a hundred but when a bowler gets a wicket of a bad delivery or if the batsman plays a bad shot everyone starts saying the batsman gifted his wicket and the bowler doesnt get much credit the bowlers run in and work hard and every ball they ball they look to get a wicket of it and when a bowler gets a wicket he doesnt get much credit

  • Thomas on April 1, 2017, 15:51 GMT

    WI don't have good batters. No Gayle, Sammy, Bravo, Russell. These are hard hitters who bring terror into the mind of the opposition. Think of Gayle. He does not score all the time but can win a match on his own. Marlon takes a long time to settle.

  • Yamin on April 1, 2017, 13:32 GMT

    There is a difference between "gift" and "snatch", this is what I think! I am not a native English speaker btw. Can any body help me out the difference? Please take the example of Pollard or Samuel's wicket for this.

  • anser on April 1, 2017, 0:40 GMT

    Pakistan is yet to score like a team scores in T20 matches. They failed miserably in NZ and Australia as they lack batsmen who can score fearlessly......bring back Hafeez who is a genuine all rounder for this format.

  • Muhammad Ammar on March 31, 2017, 18:03 GMT

    Both are the weak teams. Poor execution by both. Pak teams problems are strange. Why PAK Coach and Captain don't play four proper batsmen? Why you cannot go ahead 130 in any condition? Are you living in 2017? Winning low scoring encounters does not give any confidence. Please invest in some batting talent. You are way behind the world. WI team problems are also strange. They have all match winners, but losing since 10 years. Why? They have thrown out their highest rated players, Gayle and Sammy out. Why management cannot resolve the issues? Learn some management lessons from some good books. Anyway, Shadab Khan is new talent. Similar to Imad Wasim and Yasir Shah, he is performing in start. He needs a coach like Wasim Akram or Shane Warne, who continuously mould him, otherwise he will also be predictable very soon. Anyway, good nail biting competition between two weak teams in never enjoyable. Number of comments is evident that how interesting are these matches.

  • HARSH on March 31, 2017, 15:39 GMT

    Shadab really seems one to look out in future. looks a brilliant. Good look to you guys from an Indian fan. All I can say is wow!!

  • Narine on March 31, 2017, 13:28 GMT

    Jason Mohammed should be playing for WI, I cant understand the logic, he can play spin and had a good run of form in the recent Super 50 tournament.

  • karimm1329628 on March 31, 2017, 13:11 GMT

    Pakistan really need players who bat fearlessly and can hit big shots and in the current lineup none of the first 5 batsmen are able to do so. Bringing back the likes of calamity Kamran is most definitely the answer as evidenced by his timid and clueless batting in the second T20. It amazes me how many Pakistan batsmen don't even look to get off the mark first ball (let alone hitting a boundary) in a T20 but play defensive shots. That shows a seriously negative mindset which has no place in the format of the game. Instead, it requires players who are confident, positive, aggressive, fit, agile, able to improvise and manufacture shots and not one of Pakistant's specialist batsmen ticks all of those boxes which is a very sad testament as to the state of their cricket given how pioneering and successful Pakistan were initially in T20s. But predictably they have gone backwards in this format also now.

  • Waheed on March 31, 2017, 12:54 GMT

    Sill decisions by Windies batsmen looked Pakistan a good side. The truth is that this was Windies game to lose. Even Hong Kong would have chased that against Pakistan.

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