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We will start our winning streak from tomorrow: Shadab Khan

Last updated on 26 Oct 2023 | 01:27 PM
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We will start our winning streak from tomorrow: Shadab Khan

Pakistan have lost three games on the trot and are in a do-or-die situation to make it to the top 4

After winning their first two matches in Hyderabad against Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Pakistan have lost three consecutive games against India, Australia and Afghanistan. Their next four games are against South Africa (on Thursday), Bangladesh, New Zealand and England, and they need to win all four of them if they wish to stand a chance of finishing in the top four. 

Also read - Can England and Pakistan still make it to the World Cup semi-final?

Speaking on the eve of their all-important game against in-form South Africa in Chennai, Pakistani all-rounder Shadab Khan faced the media in a press conference and reinstated the belief that his team can still make it to the semis. 

“See, like I said earlier, we know how to come out of such situations. And there are miracles in our belief. We have full faith in our team. Our team was playing well before the World Cup. We didn't play well in the World Cup. It's not always the case that we, as a team, did not play well. There are bad days, but I think we will start our winning streak from tomorrow. And we hope to start our winning streak from tomorrow.”

Before the World Cup, the Pakistani pace attack was firing all guns in the initial stages of the Asia Cup. However, in this tournament, their pace attack has looked listless and devoid of their trademark striking ability. Shaheen Shah Afridi has failed to pick up wickets with the new ball, which is his primary job in the team. 

Meanwhile, Haris Rauf has been treated with utmost disrespect by the batters and has picked only five wickets in the last four innings at an average of 48.6 and an economy of 7.6. No other bowler has conceded more sixes (11) than him in the event. The second-worst is Hasan Ali (9), which tells you how poor Pakistan’s seamers have been.

Also read - What has gone wrong with Pakistan? Almost everything!

When asked if this concerns Pakistan, Shadab said - “See, these fast bowlers, they performed very well in the last couple of years for us and everywhere they played. So, we have faith in them and sometimes, you know, when you're a batter or a bowler, sometimes you go from these stages, everyone go from these stages who played this professional sport. So they go from these stages, but the main concern is like everyone is going at the same time. That's a problem we are getting because if someone is in good form, then we might be in a better position. But we are struggling as a unit."

Apart from their pace bowling, questions have also been raised about Shadab’s own bowling, as he is averaging 90 with the ball. Answering a question on the same, Shadab was honest in his assessment and stressed that the entire bowling lineup has to step up.

“The criticism is valid because I haven't been performing well recently. So, it's valid. I'm not performing well in such a big tournament, but it's not like I'm always the same. There is always ups and downs in cricket.  I think all our bowlers are bowling in good rhythm. They have done good bowling in patches. I am not doing well, but the rest of the bowlers are bowling really well in patches. 

"I told you before the World Cup started that the team with the best bowling form will be seen at the top. So, it is being seen that way because in pitches where there are more runs, you win the tournament with bowling. So, we must work in all three fields [all three departments, batting, bowling and fielding]. But I feel that the way our bowling lineup is, it has underperformed a lot in the World Cup."

In their last game against Afghanistan, Pakistan’s ground fielding was disastrous, giving away boundaries through misfields repeatedly. When asked about this and the role it has played in their losses in the World Cup so far, Shadab acknowledged: 

“We are not doing it in all the departments, which is why the team is on this stage. But obviously, out of form is understood in batting and bowling. But I think the team comes up with the way they field. Because in such situations, in such conditions where the pitches are batting friendly, so if you drop the catch or you give an easy boundary, then there is no pressure on the batsman and because of that there is a lot of cost in the end.

"So, I think the way we are fielding is completely different from the standard that we have set. So, from tomorrow we have do-or-die matches, so we have to do well in all three departments. Because until you don't do well in all three departments then you can't win the match. If we let down even one department, we won't be able to win the match.”

Due to these issues and their abject performance in the World Cup, Pakistan has been heavily criticised back home. In fact, the Pakistan Cricket Board released a press statement and urged the cricket fraternity “to support captain Babar Azam and the entire Pakistan cricket team.” 

“So, it's easy because I always talk to the players – because if you came on this type of a tournament you have to cut it off from the social media because when you perform you know that everyone will talk - like he's doing so well, he's doing this but when you don't perform definitely the same person will talk about that - oh he's not good enough. Because the mentality is that when someone is not in the team, they are the best. When someone is in the team, they are the worst. It's like that.

"But reality is - you have to win. You have to win. Because if you are winning, everything will cover up. And if you are losing, it doesn't matter how good you are, how your team is playing before. So the main concern is – if you are winning, everything will cover it.”

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