Misbah-ul-Haq: Our team is under pressure

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq reflects on his team’s World Cup 2015 match against Zimbabwe on Sunday(ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Full coverage)

Q: The way the team is placed at the moment, it’s quite similar to 1992. So, is the team seeking inspiration from that performance and Imran Khan as a leader? As you, you’re also leading from the front, how is that going along?

Misbah-ul-Haq (MUH): We have to really focus on our performance. We need to win the next game, especially after what happened in the first two games, it’s really important for us. There have been a lot of talks about 1992. You just focus on what you are doing here, and I think that is more important for our team, especially in the next game. I think everybody needs to really pick themselves up and try to win this game, and then we’ll see how it goes. Because every time you just come and perform well, and you just win a game, it could really give you a big confidence as a team as individuals.

Q: What are the positives you’ve taken from the two matches so far?
MUH: The team has been under pressure the last two games, big games. Both of the teams really locked us down in the first two games. So we really have to come up good, play some good cricket and try to win this game because I think we were pretty average in the first two games, so we really need to improve our performance as all three you could say, areas of the game.

Q: Obviously things haven’t gone to plan so far. So what is the mood in the camp right now?
MUH: I think the team is focused. They’re trying really hard. When you’ve lost two games in a row in a World Cup, there is a bit of pressure on the team and the players, but I think this is a chance for us to just get our confidence back. Zimbabwe is a very good side, everybody knows that they can really come good on any given day. But I think it’s our chance. We should just improve our performances, and try to win this game. That is the only way. If you improve your performances, if you win a game, that could really change the mood of the whole team.

Q: Is it tough though within a team environment to hear the reaction from former players, ex-players, et cetera, back home? Is it tough to keep the young players upbeat? Do you have to lean on the rest of your senior players to do that?

MUH: We used to say that we are with the team all the time, but we never do it. You could say it’s always like that in Pakistan. We are always with the winning team, but when our team is in difficult times, we’re here. The real supporters, you could say, they are there. They’ve got belief in the team, still supporting the team. That’s what we need. I think as the management, as senior players, as captain, it is our duty to motivate our guys. You can turn to things around if you’re positive. That’s what we are trying to do. We’re working hard. We are working on the mental aspects also. So let’s see how it goes.

Q. What kind of inspiration do you draw from a leader like Imran Khan? Is there dressing room talk about what he thinks. What’s he mean to the team and especially for you as the leader that he was?

The important lesson is never to give up. That’s what you need to do as a player and as a team. That’s what Imran Khan says about 1992. Even when the team was in difficult times, they never gave up. They just kept trying, kept trying, and kept trying. At last they just managed to do what they really wanted to do in that World Cup. That’s what we are trying to do.

Q: In the first 20 overs against India, you had 77 dot balls. Is that something you spoke about, you need to rotate the strike more?
MUH: It’s very easy to say there are a lot of dot balls, but that sometimes happens. When a team is really bowling well, it could be difficult or tricky for you to rotate the strike at times. This is what we are just trying to work out. But this is how the Pakistan team is normally. West Indian and Pakistan teams normally rely on boundaries.
Q: As a captain, prior to the start of this tournament and the build-up to this tournament, you probably had a completely different idea of what your bowling line-up would be, with injuries and other aspects to that. Is it difficult for you as a captain to know what capabilities and what circumstances your bowlers that you have to play with now are given circumstances on the field?

Sometimes it’s really difficult for you because we are playing with a totally different set-up. We were relying much on spin and different bowlers. Junaid Khan is just playing just the last two or three years. He was our main bowler. But at the moment the three seamers are bowling well. They’ve improved in the last three-four games with the way they’re bowling with the new ball and in the way they’re bowling in the death overs. We have one of the best attacks in terms of pace the way they are bowling. We’re not just getting wickets due to some poor fielding. I still feel that these bowlers are good enough. With a bit of luck, they can go through any batting lineup.

Courtesy: ICC