Win could have been more comfortable: Mohsin Khan

Former selector lauds victory over WI, but believes there are lessons to be learnt

Fawad Hussain October 18, 2016
Misbah’s men survived a scare to win the first Test as Bravo’s 116-run knock had given West Indies hope that they could sneak away with a win. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan overcame a battling century by Darren Bravo to notch up a 56-run win in Asia’s first ever day-night Test in Dubai on Monday.

And while former cricketers and pundits alike have lauded team’s victory in their 400th Test, many felt that the Men in Green made the win unnecessarily difficult for themselves.

Bravo’s defiant 410-minute 116-run knock kept Pakistan on their toes till the end and it took a stunning catch from leg-spinner Yasir Shah to dismiss the batsman and swing the tide back in favour of the hosts.

And former selector Mohsin Khan believes Misbahul Haq’s men could have done better and wrapped up the game much comfortably.

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“A win is a win but there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the match,” Mohsin told The Express Tribune. “Pakistan could have won [the match] easily. Apart from Bishoo’s excellent figures, there were mistakes from the Men in Green that allowed the West Indies to get back in the game.”

Mohsin also questioned the decision of the selection committee to field just two spinners.

“There was a flaw in the team selection as a third spinner was badly needed as per the conditions,” he said. “The fast bowlers were struggling and most of the pressure was on the spinners — Yasir Shah and debutant Mohammad Nawaz.”

He further added, “The next match is in Abu Dhabi where conditions are similar to Dubai. Zulfiqar Babar is experienced and can create problems for the West Indies batsmen as they struggle against spinners more.”

Pakistan, who declared their first innings on 579-3 after Azhar Ali’s 302 not out, were bowled out for 123, having decided against enforcing the follow-on and setting a target of 346 runs in their second innings after West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo ripped through their line-up with figures of 8-49.

Pakistan beat West Indies by 56 runs in day-night Test

And Mohsin was critical of some irresponsible batting by the hosts. “We saw a lot of irresponsible batting from some batsmen in the second innings. While the current West Indies team is comparatively week, however, that does not mean you take them lightly.”

‘Would never drop Shafiq’

With Younus Khan returning to the line-up after recovering from illness, who will sit out from among Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam to pave the way for the experienced batsman remains a question.

And Mohsin believes it’s the latter who should be made to sit. “I would never drop Asad Shafiq. He is the team’s finest batsman and deserves a permanent slot in the team. Babar Azam can be rested as he is young and has plenty of time to prove himself.”

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Misbah right not to enforce follow-on: Illyas

Another former Test cricketer and chief selector Mohammad Illyas, while congratulating Misbah and his team for a memorable triumph in the 400th Test, backed the captain’s much-criticised decision to not enforce the follow-on when presented with the opportunity.

“Saying that the decision was a mistake is inappropriate. The bowlers, who worked really hard to take wickets, were tired and needed rest. It was a wise call from Misbah,” said Ilyas.

He further added, “It could have been a comprehensive win but team deserves praise for the thrilling win. They held their nerves against a resilient West Indies. The team certainly made some mistakes in the last two days but the West Indies should also get some credit for making a comeback.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2016.

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