Misbah blames Babar Azam’s absence behind poor performance in New Zealand

By Our Staff Reporter

Islamabad:

Under-fire Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday blamed the forced absence of wounded captain Babar Azam and the prolonged quarantine in New Zealand for the poor national team show on the recent tour that put his job on the line.

Pakistan has lost both the Tests and has also dropped 1-2 against New Zealand in the T20Is. It also lost series in Australia and England under Misbah.

“Babar’s absence due to injury made a huge difference to us and than the 18-19 days we spent in quarantine in New Zealand affected our performances as the players couldn’t get to train and prepare properly,” Misbah said during a press conference on Monday in Lahore.

“Not having Babar was like New Zealand not having Kane Williamson.”

Misbah said the fact that opener Fakhar Zaman couldn’t travel with the team also made a difference.

“People will say I am making excuses but if you don’t train for 18-19 days it does make a huge difference. I tell the players to fight and I also encourage them. I alone am not responsible for the team’s performances,” he said.

Misbah and bowling coach Waqar Younis are due to appear in person before the PCB Cricket Committee on Tuesday, where they will be asked about their tenures, team performances and selection decisions.

PCB CEO Wasim Khan said that while it would be unfair to speculate on the future of both coaches, he confirmed that the Cricket Committee of the Board is empowered to recommend the removal of coaching staff, including coaches, from the Chair.

Misbah further said that he saw no plausible reason for the Board to remove him now, but admitted that the Cricket Committee could make good or bad recommendations for him, and the Board could remove him, and that’s something he can’t do.

“I have no control over what the Cricket Committee decides or what the board decides. But I am doing my best with the team. I don’t compare myself with any other coach but I am trying to do what I feel is best for the Pakistan team. I may have made some mistakes but generally I am satisfied with the selections we have made.”

Misbah said he “will be giving a honest and realistic briefing to the cricket committee members.”

“I hope they can see the realities and problems we are facing. Obviously I and the team are disappointed at our losses in New Zealand but bear in mind that they are now one of the top teams in the world.”

He said New Zealand played cricket a lot better than Pakistan because they played their season at home and also added that coaches were faced with problems due to the COVID-19 situation.

Misbah said that the kind of cricket that the team has played in the last one and a half years has not been reflected in the unfortunate results.

“I have not come here to apologise just to make things clear,” he said.

He said he had no doubt over the commitment of his players as they were working hard.

“Touring teams face problems overseas even Australia struggles in Asia but I think we performed better than many teams in New Zealand.”

Pacer Muhammad Amir had recently retired from international cricket saying he was mentally tortured and he can’t play under the current team management. But Misbah said he would still welcome him back despite what he had said about the coaches.

“I don’t know why he said such things about me and Waqar. I have always given respect to him and other players. When he came back in 2016 I welcomed and encouraged him back in the side as captain and senior player,” he said.

“I and Waqar had spoken to Amir about his form and fitness and we told him he needed to work on his pace as it was getting slower and this was a worrying factor for them. He was dropped for the New Zealand tour only because of form and fitness reasons there is nothing personal against him. Waqar has nothing to do with the selection of teams so why blame him.”

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