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  1. #1
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    "Babar Azam's white-ball form needs to start transforming into his Test form" : Mickey Arthur

    A 146-run partnership from Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq has given Pakistan a glimmer of hope of avoiding a first Test series defeat in the UAE although Sri Lanka are still in the driving seat going into the final day in Dubai.

    With the team reeling at 52-5 in their second innings chase of 317, the Pakistani pair came together and both scored half-centuries to reach stumps on 198-5 and frustrate the Sri Lankans on the fourth day of the second Test on Monday.

    More of the same will be needed of Sarfraz and Shafiq, who are unbeaten on 57 and 86 respectively, as well as the rest of the tail-enders if they want to get the required 119 runs needed to pull off an unlikely victory and preserve their unbeaten series record in their adopted country.

    If Sri Lanka, who won the first Test in Abu Dhabi, do prevail, they will become the first side to beat Pakistan in a Test ‘home’ series in the UAE since 2010, having won the opener in Abu Dhabi.

    For Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur, he’s pleased to see his side are still in the game having seen his top-order struggled.

    “It’s with a lot of relief that we are seeing a partnership developing,” he said. “They both played very well. We were talking about it at tea time. When we chased against Australia and Asad Shafiq scored 137 at the Gabba, it got us quite close. It sort of had the same feel. I’m so pleased for Asad Shafiq because he worked so hard and we know he’s a quality player and showed the skill. I just hope he can go all the way.

    “I didn’t think I’d be actually sitting here thinking that we could win this at 6pm but it’s fantastic. It’s going to be a fantastic day. If these two guys double their partnership, we win the game.”

    Before a ball was bowled on day four, Pakistan were already up against it but Wahab Riaz (4-41) and Haris Sohail (1-3) made quick work of dismissing Sri Lanka for just 96 after they resumed, struggling on 34-5.

    In their chase, Pakistan fans hoped there would be no repeat of a batting debacle that saw them all out for 136 in their chase in Abu Dhabi last Monday.

    But there were signs of frailty early on.

    Shan Masood survived a scare in the first over after an lbw appeal, only for the DRS to save him.

    Sami Aslam suffered the same fate when caught by Kusal Mendis but was given a lifeline when Lahiru Gamage overstepped for a no-ball. But he just faced another two deliveries before Gamage got his revenge when caught by Mendis for 1.

    Pakistan needed another big knock from Azhar Ali (17) who scored 59 in the first innings. But having initially frustrated the tourists, Nuwan Pradeep got the key man with the batsman’s thick edge, presenting a simple catch for Kusal Silva at short square.

    Loitering at 36-2, Pakistan found themselves in bigger trouble, losing another further three wickets before dinner.

    However, Dilruwan Perera showed it isn’t just Rangana Herath who can take wickets with spin. After Sohail (10) was caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella, Perera removed Masood (21) and Babar Azam (0) in the same over to leave Pakistan 52-5.

    It seemed it was only a matter of time before more wickets would fall but Sarfraz and Shafiq revived the innings, batting the whole of the last session to give a Pakistan a fighting chance.

    Earlier, Pakistan needed just one hour of the first session to bowl out Sri Lanka for 96 – their ninth lowest Test score. Riaz got his fourth wicket and first over the day when Dickwella was caught superbly by Sarfraz. Yasir Shah finished 2-47 when removed Perera (0), before Sohail wrapped up the innings with three scalps in his only over.

    http://sport360.com/article/cricket/...-day-in-dubai/


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  2. #2
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    The problem with the current team is the order and players who don't deserve to be there. The top 6 IDEALLY in England should be...
    1) Aslam
    2) Imam
    3) AA
    4) Haris
    5) Sarfraz
    6) Salahuddin

  3. #3
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    He was due an innings after averaging 20 in the last 10 matches.

  4. #4
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    This was a great innings from Azhar and it will turn out to be epic if Pakistan will win this game but again there is a concern of consistency. Pakistan would not be in this situation if he had scored a few runs in the last game. Azhar, Sarfaraz and Shafiq need to combine and improve their consistency to guide this young team.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManFan View Post
    The problem with the current team is the order and players who don't deserve to be there. The top 6 IDEALLY in England should be...
    1) Aslam
    2) Imam
    3) AA
    4) Haris
    5) Sarfraz
    6) Salahuddin

    Aslam & Imaam opening in English conditions 🤦🏽*♂️

  6. #6
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    Arthur backs Shafiq, Sarfraz to get job done

    Mickey Arthur, Pakistan's head coach, on Monday (October 9) urged Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed, his two senior batsmen, to continue their solid stand on the fifth and final day of the second Test against Sri Lanka for a series-levelling win.

    Chasing 317 to win, Pakistan recovered from a miserable 52 for 5 as Shafiq (86 not out) and Sarfraz (57 not out) lifted it to 198 without further damage with a fighting 146-run stand. Pakistan needs another 119 runs to win the day-night Test.

    "Fantastic, it will be a really good session," said a relieved Arthur, looking ahead to the final day. "These guys double their partnership, we’ll win the game. It’s going to be all to play – I think seven overs to the new ball, so if we can cash in on those seven overs, put a little bit of pressure on Sri Lanka, it could be a good ending."

    The win will also help Pakistan maintain its unbeaten series record in the UAE, having won five and drawn four of the previous nine.

    Pakistan failed to chase a modest 136-run target to lose the first Test by 21 runs in Abu Dhabi. But here, the Shafiq-Sarfraz stand has come at the most opportune moment.

    "I say it with a lot of relief that we eventually see the partnership. They’ve both played very, very well. We were saying at tea time it has a bit of a Gabba feel about it, when we chased and Shafiq got 137," said Arthur, of the day-night Test last December in Brisbane against Australia. Pakistan came close to chasing down a 490-run target, failing by just 39.

    "It had the same feel. I’m so pleased for Asad Shafiq because he’s worked so hard and we know he’s a quality player and he showed the skills tonight. I thought he was very good. I just hope he can go all the way for us."

    Arthur backed the faltering Babar Azam, who finished the series with scores of 28, 3, 8 and 0. "It’s a bit of a worry. I’ve got a lot of faith in Babar because I think he is a very, very good player. But his white-ball form though needs to start transforming into his Test form.

    "He has had a very slow start to his Test career, for a player of his ability. I’m still confident that he will come through and that he will be a very good player for Pakistan going forward. We've just got to guide him through as best we can. "

    Arthur candidly accepted that the reshuffled batting order in the wake of the retirements of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq had left him worried. "It’s kept me awake at night, to be honest, I’ve spoken to a few people about it. It’s tough – I thought we had it nailed, I’ve got to be honest with you. I was comfortable that we had the right combinations.

    "I was comfortable that we had enough left-hand, right-hand combinations. I thought we had the next best batsmen available in Pakistan playing for us. I’ll be honest, I’m not a 100% sure now.

    "And before we tour again and before we go to England, we’ve got a long break now. We’re going to have to sit down and really apply our minds and have a look again as to what we think is our best top-six going forward."
    .
    Asked whether Shafiq was more comfortable batting down the order at five or six, Arthur replied: "It’s still too early to say. I would’ve loved Asad to be playing the innings he is from No. 4 because that just solves the problem for us. With him going down to five, we just thought with Haris (Sohail) playing so well, another left-hander in the middle, we thought it was a no-brainer for us sending him at 4.

    "Again, it throws up another conundrum for us because he’s playing so well at five. Is that his right position? I’m not so sure. We’re going to have to really apply our minds going forward with what our right top-six is."

    On Shan Masood, who hasn’t contributed much, Arthur said the opener needed consistent chances. “In terms of rationale, one of the things always pointed out about Pakistan cricket is that there hasn’t been any continuity. We've tried to get continuity with our players, albeit the right decision or the wrong decision.

    "Pakistan cricket is synonymous with dropping players, bringing them back, dropping them again, bringing them back again. We want to give guys an opportunity and then we can make a proper decision on it. Now whether that proper opportunity ends now, or we reconsider it, I can’t say. But at least the player that gets a run in the team will feel that he’s had a go and that’s what we’re trying to create.

    "Has our opening partnership worked for us in this series? It probably hasn’t but that is something we’ll discuss going forward and try and get the best option. The easy option would be Azhar (Ali) going back up, that then opens another position at 3. At the moment, we’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do.”

    Arthur once again backed the three seamers plus one spinner policy. "The reason behind it is we just thought it was our best possible attack to win us the game, whether that was right or wrong, it’s something I need to get my head around. I’ve come from and coached in places where pace dominates and pace wins games. I’ve got to get my thinking around that these are totally different conditions.

    "Whether we like it or not, our attack has done a job. We should’ve chased down 136 in Abu Dhabi. Without a doubt. And then we would’ve said the attack has done its job."

    https://www.icc-cricket.com/news/489321


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  7. #7
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    Atleast he's recognising that some of the decisions with regards to the batting order and bowling combination need addressing. Hopefully it means that we see a permanent return to the opening slot for Azhar and the end of Shan's career.

  8. #8
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    Interesting comments by Mickey.

    Possibly Azhar going back to opening soon.

  9. #9
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    Its good to see a coach who can recognize his mistakes, it's a team in transition and he and Sarfraz should only get better with more experience together.

  10. #10
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    I think if Babar has an immediate future in tests then its at 3 or 4, he is too nervous against spin upfront


    "Last time Uganda toured Canada, half their team ran away to start a new life" - cricfan967

  11. #11
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    Honest comments from Mickey. Acknowledging mistakes were made.

  12. #12
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    Arthur backed the faltering Babar Azam, who finished the series with scores of 28, 3, 8 and 0. "It’s a bit of a worry. I’ve got a lot of faith in Babar because I think he is a very, very good player. But his white-ball form though needs to start transforming into his Test form.
    Mickey Arthur has done wonders for Pak cricket which is unimaginable given our current lot but he always backs the wrong horse for the course. What does he want? Continue to hold one slot for Baby Azam to reduce his average to below 20s? He did'nt give chance to U. Salahuddin and continued with a single spinner. His worst decision is bringing the run-machine Wahab Riaz to play. His top 4 is worst than Ireland but he refuses to accept. Really disappointed with his decisions. Arthur needs to back his captain and stand up to Inzimam & Co..

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Honest comments from Mickey. Acknowledging mistakes were made.
    Waqar is very honest as well......in the commentary box
    @Hasan123 @Slog


    Ah, so this is what it feels like

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakistanigoneaussie View Post
    I think if Babar has an immediate future in tests then its at 3 or 4, he is too nervous against spin upfront
    Unless you open with him , in SC hes going to face spin upfront .


    " you don't play for the crowd, you play for your country " - MSD

  15. #15
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    Mickey's honesty and sense of responsibility is refreshing, but I don't lay a lot of the blame at his feet.

    1) He can't fill a Misbah and Younis shaped void right after their retirement.
    2) He can't find two openers for a team that hasn't had a single quality one since the 90s.
    3) He can't change the fact that Azhar can't be a run machine in every series.
    4) Or that an over-rated, white ball performer like Babar will end up being up to the task. I don't know if it's a position thing with Babar because he isn't even able to make the easiest position [#6] productive.
    5) Or stop a debutant Test captain's mistakes.

    If he had a say in that specific tactic, the one spinner strategy was definitely poor. Azhar should've opened, but how he performed, doesn't suggest that it had much to do with being at 3.

    We all know that every single team, winning or losing, makes a few errors. And it wasn't the bowlers that cost Pakistan a whitewash.

    The batsmen couldn't chase 136 on their 'home' ground. They managed 52/5 in the 4th innings. An unselected second spinner isn't responsible for the results.
    Last edited by Lefthanded; 10th October 2017 at 12:42.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Honest comments from Mickey. Acknowledging mistakes were made.
    Wow double standards...


    Inzi is the best selector in the world

  17. #17
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    Mickey's white ball results need to start reflecting on his test match results as well

  18. #18
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    Babar batted at #5, Had to face spin which is his weak area.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamza_ View Post
    Babar batted at #5, Had to face spin which is his weak area.
    He was at one point in time regarded as the most promising player of spin in domestic cricket so to see him struggle this badly against spin is shocking.

  20. #20
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    @Savak maybe its the intent, He could be a free flowing player against spin but is unable to play like that right now.

    In one days he smashes spin with ease although did struggle against Shadab in PSL.

    Babar needs to re-think batting strategy more than anything.

  21. #21
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    Babar much comfortable in this format it seems


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