Misbah happy with young guns despite dismal Lankan tour

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2012, 20:16 PM IST

Lahore: His side lost both the Test and the ODI series against Sri Lanka but Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq took solace from the fact that the young players showed a lot of fighting skills and maturity on the tour.

"Losing a Test series after nearly two years was disappointing for all of us but the way Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan performed it was a big boost for the entire team," Misbah told reporters after the team returned home.

Pakistan lost the one-day and Test series in Sri Lanka but Azhar and Asad scored heavily while Junaid was also in outstanding form with his left-arm pace bowling.

He said players such as Azhar, Asad and Junaid are the future of Pakistan cricket.

"Any defeat is a disappointment but I would say we had our silver lining on this tour. Asad and Azhar have been playing for last two years and they have now really matured into confident batsmen," he said.

Azhar hit two hundreds in the Tests and Asad was man of the match in the final Test with a century while Junaid finished with 14 wickets when his senior colleagues like Umar Gul struggled.

He also paid tributes to young wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal for batting through in the final Test second innings despite a fractured finger.

"It was brave of him and it shows the spirit in the team. I am encouraged with these performances," he added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is due to meet with the captain, the coach and the manager of the national team next week to discuss the outcome of the Sri Lanka tour before the selectors sit down to finalise the squad for the one-day and T20 series against Australia.

Misbah, who has been leading the Test side since 2010, said every team had to go through difficult phases where they had to do some soul searching.

"What is important is that the seniors must take responsibility and the youngsters keep on their process of improvement and we can move forward.

"The weather and our poor fielding played big roles in our one-day and Test defeats and I really think that we need to now pay complete attention to our lifting our fielding standards," Misbah said.

Pakistan despite the Test series loss has moved up to fourth position in the ICC test rankings.

Pakistan`s series defeat was their first in seven series and first since losing to England in 2010. Misbah said their focus would now be the Australia series and the ICC T20 World Cup.

"On both fronts I am confident because we have good talent coming up," he said.