Skipper Azhar Ali on Friday said the Test series loss in Australia is unacceptable and it has hurt the pride of Pakistan cricket. Pakistan had a forgettable tour of Australia as they lost the T20 series 0-2 before suffering embarrassing innings defeats in the two Tests, which were part of World Test Championship.
“It is very disappointing how we lost the two Tests. The defeats in Australia have hurt our cricket pride and it is hard to accept,” Azhar told reporters in Lahore after returning from Australia.
“We had gone there with all the right preparations and with a positive mindset. So the two innings defeat is not acceptable and I will offer no excuses for this.”
Azhar insisted his team had prepared well for the series but it failed to properly execute the plans.
“We didn’t get wickets with the new ball, we didn’t forge big partnerships, we didn’t build on good starts and our plans against David Warner also didn’t work as he countered them well,” he said.
“We had picked a young pace attack for the Tests and we batted first in the first Test and I think that showed our intent that we wanted to play positive cricket.
“The truth is we were doing catch up game in both Tests and once you get behind in Australia it is very difficult to catch up in Tests,” Azhar added.
Australia opener David Warner made a huge difference as he scored 154 in the first Test before producing a record-breaking triple hundred at the Adelaide Oval.
“He (Warner) had a very bad Ashes series and our bowlers needed to capitalize on that and they didn’t,” Azhar said.
However, Azhar defended the selection of the young pace attack, who failed to deliver Down Under.
“They didn’t take wickets but the world is talking about them and they have a great future ahead of them,” he said.
Azhar also made it clear that he was under no pressure because of his run of poor form.
“I accepted the captaincy after much thought and I know what I want. I am under no pressure right now neither I am thinking about what will happen or about losing the captaincy. But it is a fact that whether you are captain or player if you don’t perform you can’t expect to be in the team,” he said.
He also rejected suggestions that his last year’s knee surgery was hampering his batting form.
“If I was not fit I don’t think the PCB medical staff would have cleared me to play for Pakistan,” Azar said.
“I am over the injury now and although I haven’t got many runs or big innings after returning from the surgery I don’t think it is affecting my batting.
“Sometimes it is also about luck. I am middling the ball and I am feeling comfortable at the crease, my footwork is good but luck just has not been with me.”
The Pakistan skipper said he had confidence that the team will go forward positively.
“We need to trust each other. I am not scared about being sacked as captain. I can’t control that I can only control our performances. We need to end the fear factor in our team. That is the key,” he said.
About the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka at home, Azhar said it won’t be easy as most of the players, including himself, would be playing a Test in Pakistan for the first time.
“When we played in UAE we had a plan as to how to get results there but here we will have to first look at the pitches and then see what plans to make to get results in Pakistan.
“We have to come up with a new game plan. We want a track that suits us. We need to start afresh on how to win tests in Pakistan.”
Asked about reports that he was only playing Test cricket to tour England next year and then settle down in the UK and play long term for Somerset, Azhar didn’t mince words in outrightly rejecting the reports.
“… they should confirm any such news first especially when it concerns our personal life. My son was in the UK but I have also called him back to Pakistan, I have no business in the UK and no contract with Somerset. I had a one-year contract with Somerset last year and that is that,” he said.
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