Babar terms Pakistan’s loss ‘painful’; Shoaib Malik calls for white ball coach to end woes

From our correspondent

HARARE: Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam on Friday said that the collapse of the whole batting group caused a humiliating defeat of his brigade against Zimbabwe who won the game by 19 runs to level the three-match T20I series 1-1 here at the Harare Sports Club Ground.

“Our whole batting group collapsed today which caused our defeat. Credit goes to Zimbabwe who made a nice comeback,” Babar said in an interview.

Chasing 119, Pakistan were folded for only 99 in the final over in which the visitors needed 20 to win.

He termed the performance as painful.

“It was a painful performance. We had chased 200 in South Africa and today we should have chased 100 and plus but unfortunately we played poor cricket. Our middle order is struggling and that is why we could not finish the game. I think today our batsmen did not perform the way they had been doing,” said Babar, who top-scored 41.

He said the pitch was suiatble to bat on. “I think it was not a difficult pitch and was suitable. It was like the first game pitch but it is no excuse and as a professional you have to adapt to the things,” Babar said.

“We could not give a good start as openers which we should have and middle order had been struggling. We will try to boost it,” Babar said.

He stressed that things should be sorted out as soon as possible keeping in view the approaching T20 World Cup.

“Yes World Cup is very close and we should sort out these issues and will try to sort them out as soon as possible. We will try to make a strong comeback to win the next game and from now onward in T20s we will try to go with good combination,” Babar said.

This was the first win from Zimbabwe against Pakistan in their 16th attempt and was also their first win at home since beating India way back in 2016. These days media is abuzz with the debate that Shoaib Malik’s presence in the team can resolve the middle order woes. Malik has not played for Pakistan since England tour. Malik lashed at out the unacquainted decision makers and called for a white ball coach to end the issues.

“Unacquainted decision makers need to take a step back; Babar and chief selector need to call the shots,” Malik said in a tweet.

“In my opinion, we need an international white ball coach who understands cricket inside out and grooms our captain whilst giving clarity to our players for coming time. When your management relies on likes and dislikes especially when your cricket is just in surviving mode, then what else do expect as a nation? On top of that, when you don’t let your captain take decisions this is bound to happen.”