After a 2-0 drubbing in the Test series in New Zealand, Pakistan returned to winning ways with a clear sweep against South Africa at home. The series also turned out to be the first time South Africa toured the country after 2007-08.
Misbah-ul-Haq, the coach of Pakistan, said that the victory was important from the team’s point of view as it would help in building confidence. “It was a very important series for Pakistan after the series against New Zealand,” Misbah said on Tuesday (February 9). “The confidence of the team was low, it was very important to perform in the series. And after a long time a top-class team came to Pakistan, that was also a major factor for Pakistan.
“And the performance in this series was important. Overall the weakness we had in New Zealand, the questions that were there, the performance was better. And that is why we have won the series 2-0. Very satisfying, for the team’s confidence, for the players’ confidence, it was very important, for the coaching staff, it was important for Pakistan as a whole,” he added.
Misbah also pointed out that previously in England and New Zealand, they were struggling to close out games after finding themselves in positions of strength. For instance, in the Old Trafford Test in England, Pakistan had run through the cream of the home side’s batting order before Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes guided the hosts to a hard-fought win. In New Zealand too Pakistan dropped crucial chances.
“We were very hopeful in England, unfortunate that we didn’t win that Test match (Old Trafford). Previously, the finishing touches weren’t happening. In New Zealand also crucial chances were dropped. We tried to rectify here. The way Faheem is performing, it is great for the balance of the team. There are certain departments where we still need to improve. But looking at the confidence of the team, hopefully, we are in a better position. Now the focus is on the T20 series (versus South Africa). It is important… with the T20 World Cup coming up that we focus on this series.”
Misbah and the rest of the coaching staff came under scrutiny after Pakistan slipped to defeats across formats in New Zealand. The former Pakistan batsman, however, said that there should be continuity and it is important to look at the side’s performance from a long term perspective.
“There should be continuity. It isn’t like you would win every series, there would be ups and downs, one should look at it in the longer run, the combinations, the players, whether they are going on the right side, is there development, results, it would take a bit of time. Yes, changes have to be done but the changes need to be done for the sake of betterment.”