Misbah looks for other batsmen to stand up in WI face off



Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq dismissed talk of panic in the ranks on Friday but conceded their batting woes needed to be addressed ahead of their crunch World Cup match against the West Indies.

The two sides go into Saturday’s match at Hagley Oval in Christchurch desperate to get points on the board after both lost their first matches in Pool B.

Pakistan suffered a dramatic batting collapse when they were outclassed by India while the West Indies were upset by Ireland.

“This is an important game, and both teams need to win. We know that,” Misbah said, adding Pakistan knew they had to rectify their problem batting.

But he added “we are not panicking,” when questioned whether there would be changes to the side to face the West Indies.

Misbah’s 76 against India was the only half century in the Pakistan innings but he said he should not have been responsible for holding the innings together.

“It doesn’t mean that all the time it should be me. It should be two other guys out of six or seven batsmen that are playing,” he said.

“This is how normally cricket is being played. Every time all seven batsmen don’t perform and maybe two or three just score runs and you just win the game.

“The guys who are not at the moment performing, we know that they are good enough players, and they can just come to the party in the next games.”

Pakistan reached 102-2 against India before the batting imploded with three wickets for one run before they limped through to 224, well short of India’s 300.

Misbah said moving him up the order from his number four slot was not the answer.

“We just collapsed in the middle order, so it wasn’t a problem at the top. What we are missing, I think, is that we need to have better partnerships on a regular basis, whether it’s at the top, whether it’s in the middle order.

“Any pair who is batting, they need to just develop a partnership, and that’s what we missed in India’s game. After losing the second wicket we just lost three wickets in nine balls and that really cost us the game.”

Although Pakistan are without proven match-winner Saeed Ajmal — who pulled out of the Cup because of his disputed spin bowling action — Misbah felt comfortable with his bowlers.

“It’s a little bit difficult when you are used to somebody (Saeed) for three or four years, but I think now our pacers are really doing well in the last two, three games,” he said.

“They are really coming to the party in the way they are bowling, especially in the death overs, improving, so we’ll have to live with that.”

He said speedster Mohammad Irfan, whose form against India dropped away after he was twice warned for stepping on the wicket, had been working on his action in practice since then and “he’ll be fine in the next game.”

West Indies skipper Jason Holder is expecting plenty of entertainment against Pakistan.

Both sides also have shown the ability over the years to be brilliant one game and abject the next, although it has been a while now since West Indies displayed much brilliance.

The Caribbean islanders suffered a humiliation in their World Cup opener, losing to Ireland by four wickets at Saxton Oval in Nelson on Monday.

That came on the back of a shellacking from England and a narrow victory over Scotland in the warm-ups.

“We can’t let our defeats get us down,” Holder told reporters at Hagley Oval on Friday.

“Obviously we lost a game against Ireland and it was a pretty tough loss, but if we get ourselves down, it’s hard to pick ourselves back up, so we just tried to keep the mood going.

“We’ve obviously addressed a few issues, which we have. We didn’t bowl particularly well in the last game, so that’s a big concern for us (but we go) into tomorrow’s game with full confidence.”

Holder is hoping to have tall spinner Sulieman Benn, who missed the Ireland game, and all-rounder Darren Sammy available despite both experiencing back stiffness.