Dubai: Sri Lankan batting coach Marvan Atapattu on Sunday praised the Pakistan team as one of the best in the recent past and likened their captain Misbah-ul Haq to his country`s former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.
Atapattu`s praise came after Sri Lanka were thrashed by eight wickets in the first one-day in Dubai on Friday to go 1-0 down in the five-match series, which followed Pakistan`s 1-0 win in the three-Test series.
"They looked very fresh from the start and they are a very good side, having lots of allrounders and have options," said Atapattu. "This Pakistan side is one of the best I have seen in the recent past having played against their best teams in my days."
Atapattu, a former opener who played 90 Tests and 268 one-day internationals, was full of praise for current Pakistan captain Misbah.
"Misbah is a very cool and calm character and what I saw in the Tests was very impressive, he handles things well and is somewhat like Ranatunga and he has the patience to wait until he achieves what he wants to," said Atapattu of the 37-year-old.
Misbah appointed Test captain in October last year – two months after the spot-fixing scandal in England -- has not lost a Test series since and is uniting a team known for its erratic ways.
Atapattu hopes his batsmen overcome the lack of confidence in the second one-day match here on Monday after being bundled out for a mere 131 runs in the first.
"I really think it is nothing to do with the technique and application but it’s about the confidence which they are lacking," said Atapattu of his batsmen`s failure to deliver.
"We have played so much cricket and if it happens at a stretch then its important you get out of it, when you get out for low scores, when you are not doing well as a batting unit, then its a matter of confidence," said Atapattu.
Atapattu hoped his batsmen forget the past.
"You cannot justify (failures) after looking at the personalities in the dressing room, its just that they come out thinking that its a brand new game and we are not continuing what we did on Friday or maybe two months ago," said the batting coach.
Atapattu apologised to the fans on behalf of his team.
"It`s disappointing what happened on Friday and on behalf of the team I apologise to the public who came in numbers to watch us and hopefully its a one off thing and I am sure that we do it right come Monday," said Atapattu.
Atapattu disagreed the recent criticism of the team by chief selector Duleep Mendis had had an adverse effect on the team.
"We have always had issues starting from the cricket board and if you are going into detail I don`t think it’s the best thing to do and never in the past has it affected players.
"I think our job is to play cricket, entertain the crowds and do well."