Talent alone won't win you matches, Misbah tells team

Published October 28, 2013
“We must accept that after one or two good performances we get relaxed.”
“We must accept that after one or two good performances we get relaxed.”

DUBAI: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq demanded his side put in the hard yards to supplement their undoubted talent after they squandered the opportunity of winning a Test series against South Africa.

Pakistan went down by an innings and 92 runs in the second Test in Dubai on Saturday as the two-match series finished level at 1-1.

It deprived Pakistan of adding to their only other series win over South Africa in 2003 and it once again highlighted their inconsistency after they had won the first Test in Abu Dhabi by seven wickets.

That had followed an embarrassing Test defeat to minnows Zimbabwe last month.

“I think the lack of consistency is because we depend on talent and talent can only help you once or twice but for consistency you need commitment, hard work and attitude,” said Misbah.

“We must accept that after one or two good performances we get relaxed.”

Pakistan's top order once again faltered as they were bowled out for a paltry 99 in the first innings in Dubai, with opener Khurram Manzoor bagging a pair, a week after hitting 146 in Abu Dhabi.

“We need to work hard on mental strength, every innings is a new innings, if you have scored a 200 then the team expects the same from you in the other innings, you can't live on one hundred,” said Misbah.

Misbah also blamed a lack of competitiveness in Pakistan's domestic cricket.

“I have been saying this for a long time that we must make our first-class cricket more competitive, that is why we are not mentally strong, we must improve on that, we need to be good all the time,” said Misbah, 39.

“If a player doesn't come from a strong system he struggles, struggles even in one-day cricket, so we have to look at that.

“I think we are a bit disappointed, given the conditions in this Test. We lost because of one bad session,” said Misbah of Pakistan's dismissal for 99 on day one in Dubai.

“The thing that is associated with us is that we are just so bad in one hour and one session and that hurts us, we want to improve on that in future otherwise such ups and downs can really hurt the team,” added the captain, who praised young batsman Asad Shafiq.

“We can say that he is a developing player and that is very good for us because in the coming years you might not have me and Younis (Khan) so he is the one who can really gather Pakistan. “He is the talent and I hope he can go on and play for a long time.”

Shafiq hit a career best 130 in Dubai and added 197 for the fifth wicket with Misbah (88) before South Africa forced the win.

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