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Misbah-ul-Haq highlights the need to deal with pressure situations "a little better"
Pakistan News

Misbah-ul-Haq highlights the need to deal with pressure situations "a little better"

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq lamented his team's inability to prevail in a thrilling contest against England in the first Test where the hosts eventually triumphed by a narrow three-wicket margin.

Pakistan had the English side five down for 117, a towering 160 runs from the target, before Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler stitched a counterattacking partnership that snatched the momentum from the tourists.

Looking back at the agonising defeat, Misbah rued Pakistan's failure to seize the initiative and amitted a degree of "panic" crept in the inexperienced line-up which allowed the opposition to set up a victory charge.

"We are feeling frustrated, just as the fans are, after the Old Trafford Test match but this is how cricket is," he wrote in a column for the PCB website.

"There are very small margins between victory and defeat and it’s easy to curse yourself when you’ve lost. But, we should remember that we were right on top until pretty much the last session of the game and we played very good cricket."

"Sure, we need to improve 10 to 15 per cent and deal with pressure situations a little better but we shouldn’t be mentally down."

Misbah praised Woakes and Buttler for playing enterprising innings despite England enduring a middle-order collapse that threatened to consign them to a loss.

The former Pakistan skipper admitted Azhar Ali's men could have opted for a different plan to uncouple the duo but pointed out the lack of fortune for his side.

"You could say one session in our second innings had a big say and then obviously the partnership of Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler. They counter-attacked well and there was a bit of inexperience – and even panic – in the team that cost us," he claimed.

"There has been debate about whether we could have bowled more short stuff or we could have bowled Shadab Khan earlier."

"Maybe so, but you also have to remember that Woakes and Buttler did have quite a lot of luck in that partnership. A lot of balls went here and there, into no man’s land.

"If one of those goes to a fielder then the situation could have been very different," Misbah emphasised.

'No issues of fatigue at the moment'

The brilliant performances from Pakistan's dynamic quicks exhilarated Misbah, who felt the pacers exceeded expectations given the absence of competitive cricket for a prolonged period before this Test.

Additionally, Misbah credited coaches Shahid Aslam and Younis Khan for the improvement of Shan Masood, which was evident in his marathon 156 in the first innings. Masood's stellar knock helped Pakistan gain an early advantage in the game as the opening batsman faced 319 deliveries for his massive contribution.

"He [Masood] has been working so hard – with coaches Shahid Aslam and now Younis Khan – ever since I took the coaching job last September. He’s changed a few things in his basic set-up and his approach to batting in South Africa and then Australia. He’s a different batsman now and Younis has helped him too," Misbah mentioned.

With three back-to-back Tests expected to create problems of excessive workload, Misbah dismissed these doubts and said the pacemen did not seem to be suffering any issues.

"All the bowlers seem fine at the moment. They bowled a decent amount of overs but not too much so I don’t think there are issues of fatigue at the moment.

"But let’s see how everybody is feeling just before the match, how the conditions are and we will decide accordingly."