Under-fire Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday blamed the forced absence of injured captain Babar Azam and the extended quarantine periods in New Zealand for the national team’s poor show on the recent tour which has put his job on the line. Pakistan lost both the Tests and also went down 1-2 against New Zealand in the T20Is. Under Misbah, Pakistan had lost away series in Australia and England as well.
“Babar’s absence due to injury made a huge difference to us and than the 18-19 days we spent in quarantine in New Zealand affected our performances as the players couldn’t get to train and prepare properly,” Misbah said during a press conference on Monday in Lahore.
“Not having Babar was like New Zealand not having Kane Williamson.” Misbah said the fact that opener Fakhar Zaman couldn’t travel with the team also made a difference.”People will say I am making excuses but if you don’t train for 18-19 days it does make a huge difference. I tell the players to fight and I also encourage them. I alone am not responsible for the team’s performances,” he said.
Misbah and bowling coach, Waqar Younis are due to appear in person before PCB’s Cricket Committee on Tuesday where they will be questioned about their tenures, team performances and selection decisions.PCB CEO Wasim Khan has said that while it would be unfair to speculate on the future of both coaches but confirmed that the board’s Cricket Committee is empowered to recommend removal of the coaching staff, including its coach to the Chairman.
Misbah said he didn’t see any plausible reason for the board to remove him now but admitted that the Cricket Committee can make recommendations good or bad for him and the board can remove him and that is something he can’t do anything about.”I have no control over what the Cricket Committee decides or what the board decides. But I am doing my best with the team.
“I don’t compare myself with any other coach but I am trying to do what I feel is best for the Pakistan team. I may have made some mistakes but generally I am satisfied with the selections we have made.” Misbah said he “will be giving a honest and realistic briefing to the cricket committee members.”
“I hope they can see the realities and problems we are facing. Obviously I and the team are disappointed at our losses in New Zealand but bear in mind that they are now one of the top teams in the world.” He said New Zealand had played much better cricket than Pakistan because they had been playing their season at home and also added the coaches faced issues due to the COVID-19 situation.
Misbah said that the sort of cricket the team had played in the last one and half years, it is unfortunate results did not reflect this. “I have not come here to apologise just to make things clear,” he said. He said he had no doubt over the commitment of his players as they were working hard. “Touring teams face problems overseas even Australia struggles in Asia but I think we performed better than many teams in New Zealand.”
Pacer Muhammad Amir had recently retired from international cricket saying he was mentally tortured and he can’t play under the current team management.But Misbah said he would still welcome him back despite what he had said about the coaches.”I don’t know why he said such things about me and Waqar. I have always given respect to him and other players. When he came back in 2016 I welcomed and encouraged him back in the side as captain and senior player,” he said.
“I and Waqar had spoken to Amir about his form and fitness and we told him he needed to work on his pace as it was getting slower and this was a worrying factor for them.”He was dropped for the New Zealand tour only because of form and fitness reasons there is nothing personal against him. Waqar has nothing to do with the selection of teams so why blame him.”