Match Tied (Royal Challengers Bangalore win one-over eliminator)
Misbah-ul-Haq avoided sarcastic jibes and was visibly relieved after Pakistan cruised to the T20I series win against seemingly overwhelmed Bangladesh. The incumbent Pakistan team head coach and chief selector spoke to the media after the damp squib today.
"The most important thing for us is to win. When you have lost many matches and not performed well in the recent series, it [becomes] very important to win for our confidence," Misbah remarked.
"The credit goes to our bowling. The way young bowlers bowled, they didn't give any chance to Bangladesh to put up big runs and threaten us. Overall, it's a good performance.
With ICC T20 World Cup eight months away, Misbah has set his eyes on the upcoming Pakistan Super League edition, set to get underway from February 20, and the chief selector is looking forward to unearthing new talent that could fit into the combination.
Misbah wants to promote a winning culture and shed light on identifying loopholes at the end of the T20I series and shared his plans on covering the shortcomings to extract the best out of his apprentices.
"You play to win and you strive to perform as well as possible. We have got a breathing space and obviously you have to identify the weak links and become better."
The burgeoning questions regarding the comeback of senior pros, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, sparked debate in cricket circles and the opinion is polarized on the matter of reverting to senior statesmen or pursuing with young blood.
"Look whenever these seniors were not in the team, many questions were directed to me, I always said that nobody's career has ended. In Sri Lanka series and then Australia [tour], we checked our resources and looked where we stood and after these two series, we realized that we needed experience.
"Babar Azam backed the [seniors] and the experience helped us so the doors are open for everybody. If a player is performing and is fit and we think that he can contribute to the team then we should utilize him," Misbah added.
Misbah is concerned about the power-hitting department and about the fragility of Pakistan batsmen against quality wrist spinners. He wants to put special emphasis on playing spin well and has high hopes from PSL to help him in his selection duties.
"Our aim is to keep World Cup in [view] and shape our team accordingly. PSL will also be very important and as far as power-hitting is concerned, Asif Ali has been out of form so we had to bring in Iftikhar Ahmed. We have realized after these two series, that our new players are struggling a bit against the leg spinner, left-arm chinaman and these days, every team is playing spinners."
Misbah wanted to try out the newcomers, who have been warming the bench in this series and the likes of Usman Qadir didn't get a chance to strut stuff in Australia tour. He made it clear that he didn't want to just give them a game for the sake of it but he believes in giving a good run to every player to show their mettle.
"We wanted to play our bench players [today]. And I must clarify that we didn't want them to play for the sake of it but we want to give players chance to [show their talent]. It's unfortunate that they will have to wait longer as the opportunity couldn't be [grasped] today."
Misbah had to face criticism over his appointment as a head coach of Islamabad United as he faced allegations of conflict of interest while working with the national team but he has dispelled such notions by emphatically stating that every player is equal for him and he just wants Pakistan cricket to become better.
"For me, the most important thing is to improve Pakistan cricket, every player is equal and I won't have any different criteria for Islamabad United players. That being said, I will be part of PSL so I would be able to monitor players closely," Misbah stated.