The continuity of abysmal batting performances by the Pakistan Test team has forced the entire team management to put their heads together in order to fix the woes.
Team’s batting line-up has failed badly against Australia, New Zealand and in the first Test of the three-match series against South Africa.
Such batting performance by the team is affecting dressing room’s environment as reports confirmed that head coach Mickey Arthur scolded senior batsmen after their disappointing performance against South Africa in the first test in Centurion.
The experienced batting trio of Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, and Sarfraz Ahmed are under immense pressure as their average has gone down drastically in the last 12 months.
Asad’s average dropped down from 29.71 to 15.33 in the last 12 months when Pakistan were out there to chase. Asad Shafiq has so far played 67 test matches and has a quite decent average of 38.78 but still, he is not able to stand and deliver for the team in the pressure situation.
When a team consists a majority of young players then a senior batsman like Shafiq should take responsibility in challenging situations, but he has failed to do it so far.
Azhar Ali after taking retirement from white ball cricket was expected to turn his complete focus on Test format but a big question mark on his presence in the team.
His average of just 19 in the fourth inning in the last 12 months showed that he is unable to contribute significantly for Pakistan while chasing. In the presence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, Azhar had a better average of 24.61 while chasing.
Then comes skipper of the team, Sarfraz Ahmed who’s average is getting worse day by day. In the last 12 months, he had an average of 13 in the fourth inning. Experts believe that captaincy has put an extra burden on him, which has brought down his average from 27.10.
It merits mentioning here that team’s batting coach Grant Flower in an interview also confirmed that Arthur got a bit hyper on senior players after their defeat in the first Test and also hinted towards some changes in the team in near future.
Critics are wary of Arthur’s aggressive hostile attitude towards the senior players of the team and are afraid that it will make things worse. But, head coach’s stern attitude was one of the reasons why Pakistan progressed in the shorter formats of the game.
Arthur played an important role in lifting up the team’s status in white ball cricket and today Pakistan is dominating the word in T20Is. His aggressive attitude was also a reason behind Champions Trophy triumph which gave Pakistan a boost in ICC’s ODI rankings.
Despite trying different combinations, making changes in the batting order, the Test team is not producing the desired results.
Pakistan finished on sixth in the ICC Test rankings released on the last day of 2018 which must have been a serious concern for the team management.
Now all Pakistan can do is to focus on the coming matches and try to play with a positive mindset. They should go out with proper planning and tactics to overcome South Africa in the second test in Cape Town — starting from 3rd January, to give a good start to the new year.
Pakistan have a competent bowling line, if they are backed by strong batting performance, there is no reason why they cannot overpower teams in the longest format of the game.