KARACHI: As Pakistan were flayed for 538 runs in the first innings of the Sydney Test, the bowling unit looked ragged, tired and bereft of ideas.
The lack of penetration has disappointed both pundits and fans alike and, speaking to The Express Tribune, former Test captain Rashid Latif echoed the prevailing sentiments.
Latif, who represented Pakistan in 37 Tests, feels Misbahul Haq’s captaincy has been found wanting as the visitors attempted to restrict David Warner on the first day of the Test rather than dismiss him.
“The tactics against Warner were too defensive; if you relax the attacking field as early as the sixth over, you are bound to suffer,” he said, before praising Wahab Riaz, who eventually dismissed the opener. “I feel Wahab gave his absolute all and one can’t doubt his effort amid the carnage.”
Latif had previously said that Misbah should stay in charge for the tour of West Indies before the start of the series but feels that the 42-year-old is nearing the end of the road.
“Yes I felt that Misbah could continue for the tour of the West Indies and help win our first ever series there,” he said. “Unfortunately this series has been poor for him both as a captain and batsman and things just don’t look right. I think we need a change and Sarfraz Ahmed should be appointed captain in all three formats of the game.”
Bowling a big disappointment
“Our bowling has been a big disappointment,” he said. “We are always worried about our batting but the batsmen have twice posted 400 plus totals in the series; the bowlers have conversely failed to support the batsmen. The Sydney Test has further exposed the limitations of our attack, especially with a half-fit Yasir Shah who seems plagued by hamstring problems.”
Latif though hoped Pakistan will find a way of saving the Test and avoiding a fourth consecutive series whitewash in Australia.
“The batsmen need to make it count and make full use of a good batting pitch,” he said. “They should aim to bat for long and build big partnerships and score centuries on day three and four. Our batting has done fairly well so we must capitalise and try our best to salvage something out of this Test.”
Sarfraz should lead in all three formats
Despite Misbah’s decision to delay his retirement, Latif feels that the time is right for a change and wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz , who is already leading the line in T20Is, should be appointed captain in all three formats.
Latif added that ODI captain Azhar Ali can make the most of his fine batting form and use the upcoming season to master his batting in the 50-over format.
“Azhar can improve his batting in the ODI format by utilising his Test form, [but] Sarfraz is a good choice of captaincy since I feel we need a captain for all three formats,” he said. “Other teams like South Africa and Australia are also looking in that direction through Steven Smith and Faf du Plessis.”