Karachi: Posting a competitive total of 313 runs against second string New Zealand team and then unable to defend the total is alarming for the team when World Cup is just around the corner, believes former Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu.
“The bowlers should have defended the 313-run total,” Sallu, a former chief selector told arysports.tv. “Especially when the New Zealand team didn’t have any big names.”
Pakistan played a warm-up match against New Zealand’s Board President XI and conceded a humiliating six-wicket defeat even after scoring 313 runs. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored 107 runs off 119 balls.
“However, the match has cleared the rumors that Misbah may not have recovered from the hamstring injury. With his century he has sent the message loud and clear that he has recovered and is now fit,” Sallu added.
Sallu further said it was a good thing that the team crossed the 300-run mark even when top players like Mohammad Hafeez, Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi failed to score runs. Hafeez scored 2; Younus 1 and Afridi got out on duck.
“It is good to see that our players have started scoring apart from our top batsmen. The team management should now focus on our bowling department,” he said.
Sallu said pacer Ehsan Adil was thought to perform well in New Zealand since there is swing for pacers in windy conditions but it was a bit disappointing that he conceded 81 runs in 9.2 overs. However, Ehsan was also the top wicket-taker with two in the match.
“The team need to do a lot of work and they must quickly acclimatize to conditions Down Under. The series against New Zealand begins with in few days and World Cup is just around the corner, we must adapt to conditions soon,” Sallu added.
He further said that the pitches in New Zealand and Australia have lost the demons, which had been a legacy of Down Under tracks.
“The ball used to bounce in the past but it doesn’t anymore,” he said. “Even Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has also complained of low and slow pitches. So I believe the World Cup will see high scores during matches.”
The two teams will again clash on January 27 also in Lincoln before series proper begins January 31 when Pakistan will meet full-fledge New Zealand side in and ODI match in Wellington. The second match of the two-match series will be played on February 3 in Napier.