At the toss, while explaining his playing eleven choices for the Dambulla ODI on Saturday, Misbahul Haq said, “We don't want to cut our batting, because that is doing very well”.
A couple of hours later, Misbah’s batsmen had made a laughing stock out of their captain by limply rolling over for 102 runs on a batting friendly surface that only offered bounce to the bowlers.
The wicket was at most challenging for the batsmen, but once again, the amateurish approach to remotely alien conditions froze the minds of the men in green.
Opener Sharjeel Khan had a forgetful outing in the Pearl Island and looks certain to have played his last innings in this format, at least for the forseeable future.
His technique remains shoddy, further impressing on the fact that aggressive stroke play in domestic cricket doesn’t necessarily highlight the temperament of a player.
Coupled with his technical flaws, it is evident that Sharjeel needs to revisit the National Cricket Academy and work diligently on his game.
Umar Akmal, who batted at number four in the first two games, was pushed down to number six on Saturday and, after hitting Thisara Perera for a big six, he fell to a reckless pull on the next delivery.
He also endured a wretched series with question marks on his wicket-keeping emerging again.
Shahid Afridi was also a disappointment and, for a second consecutive innings, perished on the deep cover boundary when he needed to spend time at the crease with Fawad Alam.
But the biggest concern for the team management should be Misbah’s poor run with the bat. In seven innings on the tour, he failed to cross the 50 mark even once. He ran himself out on Saturday, attempting a poorly-judged single.
Thus far, the saviour for Misbah’s captaincy stint spread over four years, has been his consistency with the bat. That run with the bat seems to have deserted him now which makes his leadership questionable.
At the post match talk with the broadcasters, Misbah was again tight-lipped.
“We have a little bit of a picture of what we want to do in the coming series. We will play the world cup in Australia, and the management will think about that. The Australian series is really important; we have to get the right combination.”
But before he left for Sri Lanka he had declared this series was equally important as well. If he and the management don’t rectify the issues immediately, there might yet not be a World Cup for Misbah.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ