After losing the Asia Cup final on Sunday, Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq praised the team’s Twenty20 playing style, allayed concerns about skipper Babar Azam’s performance, and found nothing wrong with opener Mohammad Rizwan’s batting strategy.
The Green Shirts’ 23-run loss to Sri Lanka broke Dubai’s tradition of teams winning when they bat second by failing to chase down 171 to defeat Sri Lanka.
Rizwan scored 55 runs in 49 balls for Pakistan and finished with 281 runs in six innings to take first place in the competition.
Saqlain, though, was unconcerned with Rizwan’s slow strike rate in the high-octane format of 117.57 runs per hundred balls. Virat Kohli, in contrast, hit 276 runs for India over the course of his five innings at a faster average of 147.59.
Babar, who was the team’s leading scorer prior to the competition, scored just 68 runs in six matches, with a high of 30, but Saqlain downplayed the opener’s decline in performance.
Anyone who pays close attention to cricket, as I have before, will understand that Saqlain is unlucky in the manner in which he is being thrown out.
“There is no need to discuss his playing style or work ethic any more. He is a professional athlete, and may God protect him from the evil eye.
It is merely a patch. He is (among the) best in ODIs and T20 Internationals, according to the rankings. Simply put, it was unlucky. It’s incredible how he practises and plays. He said, “His work ethic is excellent.
Babar, a 27-year-old opener who has amassed 2,754 runs at an average of over 42 in 80 Twenty20 international matches, recently lost the top spot in the T20 world rankings to Rizwan.
Babar was finally out of the competition when fast bowler Pramod Madushan, who had four wickets, caught him at short-fine leg with a careless flip down the leg side.
Saqlain also rejected ideas of pairing Fakhar Zaman with either Babar or Rizwan in a left-right opening combination.
It conveys that you don’t trust them if you keep shifting, he added. “You must give them some time. A lot of shuffling is bad. It conveys a false message.
Saqlain commended Sri Lanka for their entire performance in the final after they defeated Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan in the Super Four stage.
“Sri Lanka batted first against us after batting second, and they won the match. Very well earned, Saqlain said.
“We basically played nine really fantastic overs of cricket, and then they played about 31 overs and completely crushed us in batting, bowling, and fielding.”
Everyone plays cricket in a different way, according to Saqlain.
We advanced to the final of the Asia Cup and the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup (the previous year), which provides evidence that we are on the right track.
In contrast to the other cricket-playing nations, “we did so with our style of play, and the things that are left to be done will be worked upon.”