Misbah says winning ‘more important thing’ than entertaining crowds at moment

Last Updated: Jan 02, 2012, 19:47 PM IST

Karachi: Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq has said his side will focus on playing good cricket rather than just entertaining crowds, ahead of the upcoming series against England in the United Arab Emirates.

“The most important thing is to win cricket matches and we are just focussing on winning at the moment. At the moment winning cricket matches is more important than entertaining in Test cricket. Our first aim is to win matches, we want to continue to win matches, build the confidence of the players and the team, then we can look at working on the entertainment aspect in Test cricket,” PakPassion.net quoted Misbah, as saying.

His statement comes after critics had alleged that Pakistan cricket has become rather dull and boring under Misbah-ul Haq’s captaincy.

Misbah said the past year has been satisfying for Pakistan taking into account four series wins against New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“It was a good year for the Pakistan cricket team, the performances have been good. Starting from the tour of New Zealand at the beginning of the year right through to the recent tour of Bangladesh, it’s been a very good show from every player,” he added.

He, however, described the World Cup semi-final defeat to India and a Test series draw at the West Indies as low points of 2011.

Misbah, however, feels his side needs to work on fielding and catching, and stressed on the need to develop slip fielders.

“We need to continue to develop specialists in key fielding positions particularly in Test cricket. Fielders at silly point, short leg and in the slip cordon have to be specialists as these fielding positions are key to your chances in the field in Test cricket. I feel that it’s very important that we develop fielders who can field in these positions, particularly developing youngsters who can do a good job fielding in these key positions,” he added. (ANI)

Time to forget Pakistan scandals, says Strauss

The scandals that have plagued recent series with Pakistan must be forgotten when England play them in the United Arab Emirates later this month, captain Andrew Strauss said on Monday.

Three visiting players were jailed two months ago for their part in a spot-fixing scandal in the test series in England in 2010, and the corresponding series four years earlier also ended with Pakistan refusing to play on in one test.

When umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised the Pakistan team for ball-tampering, skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to bring his players on to the field and the test was forfeited, the first incident of its kind.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) adjudicator later cleared Pakistan of ball-tampering charges but banned Inzamam for misconduct.

"There is a perception there are always issues between Pakistan and England and we should see this as an opportunity to eradicate that perception," captain Strauss told reporters as his world number one side prepared to fly out from Heathrow airport.

"There is no reason why that should be the case and, as I said, if we both approach it in the right spirit it should be good for relations between both teams and for world cricket."

Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in November for their involvement in a plot to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times in the 2010 series.

"I think the spot-fixing stuff is something we are desperately keen to move on from. No good can come from churning it all up again and it`s time to concentrate on the cricket," said Strauss.

"I`m certainly excited about playing in what are going to be fairly alien conditions to what we are used to and that is going to be a good challenge against some good cricketers. That is plenty to worry about without thinking of anything else."

The series is being held on neutral territory due to security concerns in Pakistan. They have not been allowed to host international matches since the 2009 gun attack on the touring Sri Lanka team in Lahore.

England and Pakistan lock horns in Dubai for the first test on January 17. They will then contest a further two tests, four one-day matches and three Twenty20 fixtures.

Bureau Report