Lahore: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said that Pakistan's future was secure with the emergence of promising young players despite losing the Test and one-day series on their tour of Sri Lanka. Pakistan lost the five-match ODI series 3-1 and the three-Test series 1-0 on the tour which ended on Thursday. They levelled the two-match Twenty20 series 1-1.
The Test defeat ended Pakistan's unbeaten run of seven series since losing to England on the 2010 tour which was marred by spot-fixing allegations in the Lord's Test. That unbeaten streak also included a 3-0 whitewash of the world number one Test team England earlier this year.
Misbah, who captained Pakistan since their defeat against England in 2010, deplored the defeats on the Sri Lanka tour. "Defeats in the one-dayers and Tests are disappointing," Misbah told reporters on the team's return home. "We could have won the one-day series but our fielding let us down in the last two matches."
Pakistan hired former Australian batsman Dav Whatmore as head coach and Englishman Julien Fountain as fielding coach earlier this year, but their fielding has still been a grey area. "The Test defeat was also unfortunate. But the performance of young players like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan has assured Pakistan a good future," said Misbah.
"Our junior players did very well in the Tests. Ali, Shafiq and Junaid have done well in the series and with their performance we can say that our future is secure," Misbah said. "In difficult situations these players performed well for us. The way Adnan Akmal played (in Pallekele Test) with a fractured finger is a good sign. Junaid is a big plus."
Ali scored two hundreds in the Tests, while Shafiq hit a match-saving century in the final Test at Pallekele which ended in a draw. Sri Lanka won the first Test in Galle by 209 runs while the rain-hit second Test in Colombo also ended without a result. Left-arm paceman Junaid took 14 wickets in the three Tests, including five-wickets hauls in the second and third Tests.
Pakistan's Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez said team's loss in the first T20 match was due to inexperience. "We had a number of new players in the Twenty20, so the first match was lost because of inexperience but we came back well to win the second game," Hafeez said.