'Pakistan struggle against swing bowling'

Sammy, who won the man-of- the-match award for his match figures of seven for 45, has vaulted 16 places to rise to 29th position in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers.

LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Hanif Mohammad placed blame on the team’s inconsistent batting and its inability to handle swing bowling after West Indies won the first Test.

West Indies, on Sunday, put up a great fight against Pakistan that enabled them to register their first Test match win after more than two years.

Pakistan, chasing 219, were bowled out for 178 midway through the fourth day with West Indies captain Darren Sammy claiming five for 29, ably assisted by Ravi Rampaul, who took four for 48 at the Providence Stadium.

Hanif criticised the below-par performance of the batsmen, pointing out their struggle against swing bowling that cost them the match.

“Pakistan have always struggled a lot against swing bowling and this is one of their weakest points,” Hanif told The Express Tribune. “In our first-innings we went on the back foot and lost wickets while in the second-innings, we struggled against swing bowling.”

Different approach for Test cricket

Meanwhile, Hanif also urged players to understand the difference between Test matches and limited-overs cricket.

“Test cricket is a different ball game altogether and it needs more concentration on the technical aspect. However, most of our players fail to understand the difference between limited-overs and Test matches and they play both formats with the same approach,” said the former batsman.

Meanwhile, former player and a current elite coach at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Global Cricket Academy Mudassar Nazar believed the result was more or less expected as any team batting in the fourth-innings would have suffered.

However, he also shared Hanif’s opinion that it was the Caribbean side’s swing bowling that caused Pakistan batting to collapse.

“Though West Indies did not have their express bowlers and batsmen, it was the reverse swing which demolished Pakistan’s batting order,” said Nazar who is currently in Dubai.

“Apart from that, the Pakistan team also failed to utilise the players’ skill properly as Umar Gul took an extensive rest before the Test series. For a bowler it’s very hard to regain full form immediately.”

Advice for the batsmen

Nazar also added that the team has talented batsmen, with some needing more consistency in their performance. “Mohammad Hafeez, who I believe is an experienced batsman, should adopt consistency in his approach while Umar Akmal must play longer innings to make an impact.”

Meanwhile, Nazar ruled out the option of a special batting coach, urging players to take the responsibility.

“I don’t think we need a special batting coach as the current ones are experienced enough to tackle things on their own.”

 

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