Pakistan head coach Grant Eric Bradburn said his team’s record 228-run defeat against India in Colombo on Monday was a ‘timely reminder’ ahead of the World Cup but was grateful that his players got a feel of the conditions that would greet them at the quadrennial event.
“We haven’t lost a game of cricket for three months, so it is a timely reminder that we need to turn up every day, put our best in the park,” he said.
“We are very grateful for the gift that has been these last two days. To come at this stage of this tournament and to come at this stage before the World Cup is a wonderful opportunity for us to play India, because we don’t get to play some of the best players in the world very often, and to play in conditions that may be similar in the World Cup,” he added.
Pakistan’s last defeat in international cricket was back in May, in an ODI against New Zealand in Karachi. Following that loss, Pakistan swept Sri Lanka 2-0 in Tests and Afghanistan 3-0 in one-dayers to claim the No. 1 spot in ODI rankings.
The series win against Afghanistan, however, highlighted Pakistan’s troubles with the bat and the coach admitted that the batting unit hadn’t fired of late as it crumbled yet again against India.
“Our batting unit hasn’t quite clicked yet over the last month. We feel that is a positive thing because we have full trust in them. We are very consistent with our selection and the way that we are developing contenders for each position,” he remarked.
Pakistan’s bowling, on the other hand, has been all the rage in world cricket, but India tamed it to rack up a mammoth 356 for two – its joint-highest score against its archrival. While openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill started off like the clappers in the PowerPlay during their 121-run opening stand, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul built on it with an unbeaten 233-run partnership and made the bowlers toil on a wicketless second day of the rain-split game.
Bradburn lauded India’s batting and said that while he was proud of Pakistan’s pace attack, the lack of wickets upfront and some slipshod fielding allowed the game to slip away.
“Everyone has seen how lethal our bowling attack is and good teams will counteract that. They will try and come after a good bowling attack to put pressure on them. That pressure didn’t mount into wickets in the first PowerPlay when we were bowling, and India batted very well. We are very proud and very fortunate to have great depth in our bowling stocks.
“We weren’t proud of our fielding... the opening PowerPlay didn’t go our way, there was a catch that split first and second slip perfectly, there was a potential catch at third-man that didn’t quite go to hand,” he said.
Pakistan was also dealt with injury scares as Haris Rauf didn’t bowl on Monday after complaining of discomfort in his right flank and fellow-pacer Naseem Shah left the field halfway into his final over with a shoulder injury, leaving the team with just nine batters.
“They [Rauf and Naseem] are obviously very valuable to us. We’re just taking a precautionary approach with them. The medical team is doing a great job in assessing them. There was no point in sending them out there to potentially only worsen what might be little niggles that they’ve got,” the coach said.
Shahnawaz Dahani and Zaman Khan have been called up as backups ahead of Pakistan’s last Super Four game against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
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