Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Harare August 27, 2013

'We misread the pitch' - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff

Misbah-ul-Haq has admitted he "misread the pitch" at the Harare Sports Club in their seven-wicket loss to Zimbabwe in the first ODI. Misbah had won the toss and elected to bat on what he thought would be a good pitch for the team batting first.

Even though they were cruising at just under five-runs per over till the 38th over with eight wickets in hand, they only managed 244. Pakistan won both Twenty20s last week on the same ground after batting first after they lost the toss on both the occasions.

"We misread the pitch. It was looking like it was going to be slow in the second innings, but I think it was slow in the first innings and played better in the second," Misbah said.

Misbah gave Zimbabwe the credit for chasing a competitive target of 245 with 10 balls to spare. Their top order scored nearly three-fourths of the runs and handled Pakistan's spinners deftly as Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi went wicketless.

"I think Zimbabwe really deserved it," Misbah said. "They played really well and played better than us. Specially the way their openers batted, there was no panic in their batting line-up and they did it comfortably. The way they bowled and batted, they really took the game away from us. They are a much improved side, especially in home conditions, they are a better side. I think we have to go back and think where we went wrong to really improve our batting, bowling and fielding."

Misbah stated that their total of 244 was not enough and that their bowling and fielding let them down. Pakistan fielded five bowlers, but their bowling struggled as they failed to break Zimbabwe's opening partnership.

"I don't think it [244] was enough, you can't say it was a fighting total on this pitch," he said. "Maybe we fell 30 runs short. Still, you need to bowl and field very well but we were missing something in the bowling line-up, especially with the new ball and our fielding wasn't up to the standards.

"Opening bowlers are our strength - both of them [Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan] give us breakthroughs in the first 10 overs with the new ball, but we were struggling and not getting wickets at the top so that is where we are missing [something]. I think it is really important to get wickets at the top to put the opposition under pressure."

Pakistan are not playing a second-string side on this tour, the way India did earlier this month when they were led by Virat Kohli, even though they play South Africa and Sri Lanka later this year. Misbah defended the selectors' decision of naming a full-strength squad for the current tour instead of giving youngsters a chance.

"In Pakistan people feel that we should win these matches and a lot of people were saying that you should try youngsters and this and that," he said. "Almost 60% of the players are already new in this team, they are just making their way into international cricket, they are playing regularly at the moment. This team is already relatively new and we played with our full strength. We got the team here, we played with our full strength and we lost.

"I think we have to change this psyche because in international cricket all the teams are good enough. And specially if you are playing in their own conditions, you need to be 100% focused and you need to be 100%. Otherwise, if you give them just a little bit of chance, they can do these sort of upsets. We need to just come back strongly and play our A game, our best game then you can really win these games."

The remaining two ODIs of the series will be played on Thursday and Saturday on the same ground before the two-Test series starts next month.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on August 29, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Pakistan is on right track now, youngsters are there to prove. their selection and seniors need to play a governance role. one loss can brings many good victories. :-P

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    In-spite of Misbah being the backbone of Pakistani batting, I have lots of doubts on his captaincy skills. This is not the first time we have seen such inept captaincy from the man. Back in 2012, he misread the pitch in the final game against SL and dropped Ajmal for Sami. Later Sami conceded 16 runs in the final over of the match and conceded the series. Then this year against SA, twice he won the toss and put SA in on batting belters and surprisingly went in with 2 seamers. On both occasions SA hammered more than 300 runs resulting in massive losses. Along with this, his selection criteria is also very dubious. Guys like Umar Amin and Harris Sohail who are best suited to bat at number 3/4 are being sent at the end to score quick runs which is not their game. So IMO even when are testing out new players, they are just being played to fill up the numbers rather than getting the maximum out of them. Bad captaincy combined with spineless batting is the major cause of downfall.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Well said Furqan Javaid, its one game Zimbabwe batting clicked and performed admirably our lower order performed below par and we lost one game not a big deal. Well done Zimbabwe congrats on a well deserved win.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    why so much criticizing team pakistan ??we lost simply just because of accelerating after 30 + overs & in that period lost quick wickets .nothing 2 worry ,team will bounce back & win the series .Now ,My question to all those who are saying that selectors did not give chance to young stars??see the team properly then say any thing ,we already have lot young stars including nasir,ahmad,amin,haris,junaid.4 young batters out 0f 6 .now want what??

  • Bilal on August 28, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    lol yeah... blame it on the pitch.

  • Android on August 28, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Pakistan has v good coach around them but dey r not utilizing his presence. .hafeez shd captain d team n misbah shd take a role of sr batsmen. . dey have everything rite dey got rite team but nothing is operating accordingly

  • Kathy on August 28, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    I don't know why they bother to have Whatmore as coach when they give him no say in anything. How frustrating it must be for him especially when they go against his advice...like bowling first. It's like giving a top of the range Ferrari but no driving allowed.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Yeah as saw Awesome Hitting by Misbah in the last Over, He is so skilled in doing that in last overs, before that he shifts the duty to all other batsmen who are new on crease,

  • hibbatur on August 28, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Totally ineffective Pakistan think tank, I dont know what Mr.Whatmore is doing. He sends Misbah to utter old lame excuses after every shameful defeat. Nasir Jamshed has been tried long enough, please replace him now.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Expected excuse from Misbah "misread the pitch" in almost all the lost matches

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