Head coach says players need to remain focused, positive
Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, while speaking to ESPNcricinfo, has said the suspension of cricketing events can have a positive impact on his players.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to suspension of cricketing tournaments across the world, including the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the remainder of Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan.
“Going forward, I feel mentally what players are thinking is the most important aspect,” Misbah told ESPNcricinfo. “I will be emphasising that you’ve got to believe in yourself and stay positive. Yes, it’s a tough situation but at the same time consider this break a chance to reinvigorate yourself. Several players have been playing consistently and we all need a break from the load of cricket.”
He advised the players to keep analysing their game. “We will be speaking with players and instilling this in their mind that you are not going to forget your basics, and your game and skillsets will remain with you. All you have to do is analyse yourself, and we will help them with feedback from watching their videos. The break can spark more hunger in them and they will play with more passion once they return to action.”
Misbah’s PSL side Islamabad United may have bowed out of the tournament in the group stages but skipper Shadab Khan impressed with the bat after promoting himself up the order, and the coach hinted at a similar role for Shadab in the international side as well.
“Shadab as an all-rounder was a plus for us, especially in white-ball cricket. I think we need a floater in the middle somewhere to link the top and late middle order. His bowling obviously needs improvement and consistency but he still had couple of good games with the ball. There were some differences in pitches in Pakistan and he played most of our games in Pindi [Rawalpindi], where boundaries are short and the ball doesn’t turn much, so it is difficult for a spinner. Against Karachi (Kings) and Lahore (Qalandars), Shadab was good. But overall, wristspinners in T20 cricket with the ability to bat at any number are a leverage. He can field, bowl, bat and can be used anywhere according to the situation of the game.”
Misbah also praised youngsters Haider Ali, Akif Javed, Khushdil Shah and Umer Khan for their performances but criticised Azam Khan and Sharjeel Khan over their fitness.