Pakistan’s experienced batsman Shoaib Malik believes youngsters should be given the chance to carry a winning momentum into the second day-night international against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Malik’s swashbuckling 61-ball 81 and a return to form 103 by Babar Malik lifted Pakistan to 292-6 in the first one-day in Dubai on Friday before they kept Sri Lanka to 209-8 for a 83-run win. The match was Pakistan’s first since winning the top eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in June this year.
Malik said youngsters are developing fast. “It’s important to give youngsters consistent chances and by doing that we develop them and the team does well,” said Malik, declared man-of-the-match on Friday.
Malik said Pakistan has a potent bowling attack. “We have good fast bowlers and the way they took wickets in the middle overs during the Champions trophy it helped us beat top teams and here too they bowled well and got us wickets we needed,” said Malik.
Fast-rising paceman Hasan Ali—declared player of the Champions trophy with 13 wickets—finished with 3-36 while left-armer Rumman Raees took 3-49 to derail Sri Lanka. Pakistan will retain the same combination despite opener Ahmed Shehzad failing to score on Friday.
Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas is demanding his players snap a losing streak of eight consecutive games. “We have not been very good in this format for a while now,” said Pothas, a former South African wicketkeeper. “We have to find answers and find them quick.”
Pothas wants his batsmen to deliver. “From a batting point of view, the currency of your batting is runs. If you don’t keep making them, the shop is going to close down at some point. We have to ask the batters to take some responsibility.”
“The top six batters managed 96 between them. One batter got 53 and you are not going to get too many,” said Pothas of Lahiru Thirimanne who scored a half-century.
The remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi (Oct. 18) and Sharjah (Oct. 20 and 23). The two teams will also play three Twenty20 internationals, two in Abu Dhabi (Oct. 26 and 27) while the last is scheduled for Lahore on Oct. 29.
Sri Lankan players had shown reservations over going to Lahore for security fears and a final decision is expected later this week. The Pakistan Cricket Board has been endeavoring to bring international cricket back amidst improved security in the country.
Pakistan has been forced to play its home games in United Arab Emirates since 2009 terrorists’ attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus suspended international cricket in the country.