'Serious eye-opener for our system' - Misbah reflects on T20I series whitewash
Misbah-ul-Haq has admitted the T20I series whitewash by the inexperienced Sri Lanka side is a serious eye-opener for the country's cricket system.
Pakistan, currently ranked No. 1 in T20Is, went into the series firmly placed as favourites to triumph over Sri Lanka deprived of its main players.
However, they were outsmarted by Dasun Shanaka's men on home turf leaving head coach and chief selector Misbah and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed several questions to answer.
"This series is a serious eye-opener for everyone and our system. Our best team lost to Sri Lanka without their stars in one-sided encounters," Misbah told reporters in the aftermath of the 13-run defeat on Wednesday.
The former skipper stated the three successive losses had put Pakistan's No. 1 position in the format in doubt considering they were unable to beat a supposedly second-string side.
"We must look at where we stand. How did we think we were number one?"
"I am ready to take responsibility for the team's abysmal show but these are the same set of players that have been playing for the last three-four years and made us the top-ranked side. I have been in charge for only 10 days, how much coaching would I have done during this time?"
Taking a sarcastic jab at reporters constantly holding him the sole culprit of Pakistan's defeats, Misbah claimed he had not introduced some ridiculous strategy like making right-handed players do their duties left-handed.
"Maybe I made our right-hand batsmen bat left-handed or told our right-hand bowlers to deliver the ball with the left arm? I am still stumped as to what went wrong."
'There is a dearth of wrist-spinners in the domestic circuit'
Pakistan greatly struggled against the bowling of Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.
He scythed through Pakistan's line-up for the second time in a row by once again picking up three wickets at a stage when the hosts looked cruising for a comfortable win.
Shedding light on the troubles his side faced against wrist-spinners, Misbah said it was symptomatic of the overall absence of leg-spinners or chinaman bowlers in the domestic circuit.
"Our younger lot plays better against pace but since they do not have much practice against leg-spinners, they are still struggling to pick their variations. This is one of the main reasons why we could not achieve the targets," he added.
Shadab Khan's dwindling form has been a worrying sign for Pakistan's white-ball set-up.
He managed only a solitary wicket across three games and bore the brunt of lusty blows from the Sri Lanka batters.
When asked about Shadab's disappointing performances, Misbah pointed out the restricted pool of talent from which he had to pick the players.
"Tell me another wrist-spinner who can replace him [Shadab]. There is a clear dearth of wrist-spinners in the domestic circuit. We have no backups for either Yasir Shah or Shadab Khan."
Pakistan failed to score freely in the Powerplay overs in all three matches with the top-ranked T20I batsman Babar Azam unable to connect his strokes sweetly.
He fiddled around for a 32-ball 27 in the final T20I with people questioning his lack of intent.
"It's not that they [Babar and Haris Sohail] played selfishly, they were unable to overcome the slowness of the pitch.
"They were trying to hit but weren't able to which led to more dot balls and frustration. Babar wasn't able to play fluently in all three innings," Misbah elaborated.