Islamabad United coach Dean Jones remained upbeat despite his team losing their second straight match in the Pakistan Super League against Peshawar Zalmi at the Dubai Cricket Stadium on Friday.
“It’s not a good start obviously. But we have to take one game at a time. We are struggling to get the right type of tempo on a funny type of pitch. No excuses though. We have to get better,” the former Australian stroke-maker told reporters in the post-match Press conference.
“It’s not the greatest start. We have to get better and qualify for the playoffs. We haven’t quite sorted ourselves out. We are trying to get the batsmen to play with some freedom and play with some excitement.
“Every time they gamble on something, they get out. You can shoot them in the foot or you tell them to remain positive and stick to their strengths. Yes, it’s a slow start. In the Big Bash this year, Sydney Thunder lost four and won four and yet ended up winning the title. So you know we have a long way to go (in this tournament).”
Saeed Ajmal’s performance, according to Jones, was the biggest positive for Islamabad. “He was terrific today especially considering what happened to him over the last year. So to come back and show his class was fantastic.
“He was the big plus for us today and also for Pakistan cricket. That’s what the PSL is all about. I thought his experience was the key, he knew where to bowl, at what pace, what type of delivery. He really was great.
“Also (left-arm pacer)Rumman Raees, I thought, was really good. He showed lot of composure under pressure. I think he is one for the future as far as Pakistan cricket is concerned.
“So I have got couple of positive things out of it. Now we just have got to find some batsmen who make some runs!”
Jones was also effusive in his praise of a rival bowler. Zalmi’s young left-arm spinner Mohammad Ashgar took three crucial Islamabad wickets to help his team win by 24 runs.
“He was fantastic. Because we have been forced to play emerging players here, we have got a kid like Raees and this boy.
“Is it not amazing when you give kids an opportunity? Some kids you throw them in at the deep end, they swim. It’s wonderful.
“Raees is also another kid. I don’t understand why you have got so many left-arm bowlers in your country. I still haven’t worked that out, you know. You have got (Mohammad) Amir, you have got Wahab (Riaz), Raees and, of course, Junaid (Khan)!” Islamabad’s next match will be against Karachi Kings on Saturday.