Misbah-ul-Haq says Pakistan need to improve batting

Misbah-ul-Haq refused to single out any individual for blame AFP

Dubai: Feb 18, 2012

Misbah-ul Haq has called for his batsmen to put up a stronger fight to change Pakistan’s fortunes in the third one-day match against England on Saturday.

Pakistan failed to chase down targets of 261 and 251 in the first two one-day matches to hand England an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

“We have to really improve our batting,” the Pakistan captain said on Friday. “In the Tests and one-dayers both the teams were struggling in their batting and most of the time it was the bowling that was saving both.”

Pakistan won the preceding three-Test series 3-0 but now face their first one-day defeats in seven series.

Misbah refused to single out any individual for blame and said everyone had to take shoulder responsibility.

“Even in the Sri Lankan series our lower middle order was not contributing,” he said of his team’s 4-1 win in November last year.

Saturday’s match sees the return of former captain Shoaib Malik, who was dropped for the second game, with Pakistan looking to add more bowling options as well as a strengthened batting line-up, Misbah added.

England have performed well in the one-day series and Misbah said that improvement was vital to avoid another defeat.

Misbah said the players also needed to master the weather conditions in the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan currently play “home” fixtures due to the uncertain security situation at home.

Two new balls and day-night matches make the ball move more in the air and skid off the pitch in the evening, he added.

“Sometimes it is difficult as an Asian team batting second to chase,” he explained. “As professionals we have to discover that and we have to overcome that.”

Other setbacks include having to play with a stand-in wicketkeeper in Umar Akmal, who dropped Alastair Cook on 28 in the second match. Cook went on to hit his second successive hundred.

“It is really a difficult decision for us to keep a talented keeper Adnan Akmal out of the side. Again it is due to the pressure on our batting line up. It is not clicking. So that is troubling us at the moment.”

The fourth match in the series will be played on Tuesday. Both teams will also play three Twenty20 internationals in Dubai (February 23 and 25) and in Abu Dhabi (February 27). (AFP)