Shoaib Malik blames poor fielding for ODI loss

Monday, November 12, 2007

KANPUR, India: Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik on Sunday blamed an ordinary display by his bowlers and fielders for a crushing 46-run defeat against India in the third one-dayer here on Sunday but vowed his team would bounce back in the next game.

“We gave away 40-45 more runs than we should have and in the end that made all the difference,”
Malik told reporters after Pakistan faltered chasing 294 in a bid to go one up in the five-match One-day International (ODI) series. Malik said that Pakistan could have come out of the match with a different result had his players fielded well and taken the matches that came their way.
“We didn’t field well today and the bowlers could have done better too. I believe with a tight display in the field we could have restricted India to around 250 which was quite gettable on this wicket,”
he added.

He pointed out that Pakistan paid the price for dropping Yuvraj Singh who made a match-winning 77. Yuvraj who was dropped by Salman Butt early in his innings put up a 100-run stand with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

However, Shoaib defended wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal for dropping Sourav Ganguly off Shoaib Akhtar on the first ball of the day saying that ‘catches are dropped by everybody’.
“Kamran is a good player, its just that he is going through a bad patch,”
said Malik, who compared Kamran with Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.

However, when pressed, Malik did concede that Pakistan are persisting with Kamran because they have no other choice.
“Kamran is the best we have,”
he said adding Pakistan have opted against giving anybody else this role because of the high-pressure nature of the series.

“Kamran is very experienced now and we can’t afford to put in a new man out there and bring him under pressure,”
he stressed. But a minute later he contradicted himself again saying that Pakistan are looking for other options as well.

“We have to win the final two games and have some good players like Yasir Hameed on the bench. He has the experience of keeping wickets,”
he added. Yasir is a part of the 15-man ODI squad but has yet to play a role in the series.

Malik defended his decision to field after winning the toss on a wicket that crumbled a bit and assisted the spinners in the second half of the match.
“I was talking to (MS) Dhoni after the match and he told me that India would have done the same had they won the toss today,”
he said.

Malik said that Pakistan’s plan was to get some early wickets using the morning conditions that favoured the pacers.
“We were unlucky the wickets didn’t come in spite of some good bowling by Shoaib (Akhtar) and Umar (Gul),”
he added.

Malik said that Pakistan were still in with a chance to win the series saying that they would decide their line-up for the remaining two games after seeing the wicket in Gwalior and Jaipur. He praised the form of opener Salman Butt saying that it was a big plus for Pakistan.

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