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Misbah: Pakistan needs to develop more players

July 1, 2013

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s veteran one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq wants more young players to be developed after Pakistan lost all of its three group matches in the Champions Trophy last month.

Misbah, 39, fought a lone battle with a total of 173 runs against West Indies, South Africa and India, but Pakistan could not pass the 170-run mark in any of the three matches.

Opener Imran Farhat, wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and allrounder Shoaib Malik all were major flops and are likely to be dropped for next week’s tour of the West Indies where Pakistan will play five ODIs and two Twenty20s.

“We will make changes where necessary and we need to think which players should be groomed,” Misbah said after he returned home Monday after he stayed back in London to spend time with his family.

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s acting chairman Najam Sethi has already warned selectors that they will be held accountable along with the captain, vice-captain and coach if the team failed to perform in international matches.

Pakistan selectors met in Lahore on Monday and Misbah said he will also be meeting with chief selector Iqbal Qasim in a day or two before the team is finalized for the West Indies tour.

Misbah said Pakistan should start preparing for the next 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in two years’ time by keeping in mind which players are good enough.

“We can rebuild the team in the next two years by grooming players who are good enough,” he said.

Pakistan has not hosted any test playing nation for more than four years since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009. Six police officials and a van driver were killed in the ambush that stopped foreign teams from touring Pakistan because of safety concerns.

The PCB kept its ‘home’ series going by hosting England, South Africa and West Indies in the United Arab Emirates, but Misbah said Pakistan players’ performances were affected by not playing in front of their home crowds.

“We are suffering because we are not playing at home,” he said. “We were hopeful that cricket will return (to Pakistan) but it’s not happening,” he said.

Last year Bangladesh twice postponed its tour of Pakistan and the PCB had to shelve its plan to organize its first ever professional Twenty20 league — the Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan batsmen find it easy to play on the slow subcontinent-like wickets in the UAE, but they seem to struggle in more testing conditions in countries like England, Australia and New Zealand, where the ball swings.

“Simple thing is that we couldn’t handle ourselves in batting,” Misbah conceded. “These are technical faults and we need to address them.

“Whenever we go abroad we will face such problems so we have to address them. If we don’t improve, don’t learn then such things will go on.”

Misbah expected pitches in the West Indies to be on the slower side, but warned his batsmen to give enough runs for the bowlers to defend.

“If the batsmen give bowlers a total of more than 250 then they can win us matches,” he said. “I think it will again be a test of our batting in the West Indies.”

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