Monday Feb 01, 2021
Pakistan cricket head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday stated that the team will not shy away from making any changes in the playing eleven for the upcoming match against South Africa if the conditions demanded.
Talking to media through a virtual press conference, the 46-year-old said that the team will go with required changes despite victory in the first Test in Karachi.
“Weather [in Rawalipndi] in different, pitch here is different. If we felt like there is a change required, we will definitely do it,” he said. “The decision will be based after assessing the conditions. We still have many days left. The final call will be made on match day or a day earlier.”
According to reports, the playing track in Rawalpindi is more seam-friendly compared to Karachi which has led to speculations regarding the number of spinners Pakistan will play in the second Test.
In regard to Haris Rauf’s inclusion in the team, Misbah said that the right-arm pacer is bowling really well and the team is open to explore all options. “Haris is bowling really well. He has been bowling 13-14 overs in practice sessions and doing well even with the old ball,” he said. “I think he is getting ready, he is almost there.”
The head coach also dismissed the idea that Shaheen Shah Afridi is over-bowled, saying that all things are in control. “We are managing his workload and not trying to overload him. There is a physio and a bowling coach ensuring that everything is aligned," Misbah said.
“There is no such thing that Shaheen is being played despite him requiring rest. We are observing all the details and not crossing any line that endangers him.”
The former cricketer said that he is not concerned about the uncertainty of his future as team’s head coach and is entirely focused on doing well in the ongoing series against Proteas.
“I’m not focusing on that. There is no benefit in thinking about things that are uncontrollable and it only builds pressure,” he said. “I’m only focusing on how important the upcoming Test is and how important the previous test was. We’ll try to continue the good performance and identify areas that require improvement.”
Misbah, along with bowling coach Waqar Younis, after severe criticism following series losses against New Zealand last month appeared before Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) cricket committee. Amid the rumours of the coaching duo’s future with the team in line, the body had made it clear that there is no room for error in the home series against South Africa.