“There have been difficult times this series,” Babar said. “With new players, it’s different because when the opposition attacks them, it places a sharper kind of pressure on them. It takes time to get used to that. We’ll try and look after our quicks better because there are back-to-back series and the [ODI] World Cup is coming up, so we’ll have to plan with a view to that.”
“It’s disappointing as a captain that we didn’t apply ourselves,” Babar said. “The way England played needs to be appreciated. When things were in our hands, there were soft dismissals, and we couldn’t win these matches. Our strength was our batting because our bowling was under-strength. We tried to dominate with our batting, and we played well in patches, but we couldn’t quite finish it off.
“It was the same pitch for both teams. We can tell the curator we need a particular type of pitch. We dominated in Multan, when Abrar got 11 wickets. So there was an advantage, but we lacked in the batting. There were patches when we put England on the back foot but we kept losing wickets and that builds up pressure. It’s something we need to work on.”
Injuries to three frontline Pakistan fast bowlers hampered them big time. Shaheen Afridi was ruled out before the start of the series, while Naseem Shah and Rauf played the first Test, only to be ruled out for the next two. The Pakistan management is understood to be less than convinced about Hasan Ali and Mohammad Abbas’ fitness for five-day cricket, which is why they were not considered despite Pakistan fielding an attack in which every other fast bowler made their debuts this series.
“We were unfortunate that our fast bowlers weren’t fit,” Babar said. “When new fast bowlers come in, it’s difficult, especially when England play the way they do because they don’t let Pakistan settle. You need the kind of bowlers who get you 20 wickets. If you don’t, you won’t win. There’s so much back-to-back cricket, you have to be ready all the time. Fitness becomes ultra-important, because if you aren’t perfectly fit you won’t be able to play all three [Tests]. These days you only get two or three days to switch formats and you have to be mentally ready too. A lot of things happened together at the same time.”
“I enjoy the pressure, it doesn’t affect my batting,” he said. “It’s an honour to captain Pakistan, and I give my best for myself and for my country. That’s my motive and aim. The team lost, and I’ll be the one to front up and take responsibility. It’s not about the way you play, it’s about results. If you don’t get results you’ll get criticised no matter what.
“A defeat like this hurts. We had one or two matches under our control, but we lost them. If we’d won those, this would be a different scenario. As a professional, you’ll have to accept these things. But you have to credit England the way they have dominated, and the different way they have played their cricket. There were lots of positives, too, which we’ll try to continue. We’ll need to assess where we lacked, and do the best for the team.”
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