PAK vs SL | Boys are trying hard, can't be too harsh on them, says Sarfaraz Ahmed
Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has stated that it will be unfair to be too harsh on his players for their dire performance in the two T20s due to the effort they've put in. On Monday, Pakistan slumped to a 35-run defeat in Lahore at the hands of the Lankans, thereby losing the series.
Rankings in T20 cricket can sometimes be deceptive and in this series, Sri Lanka proved just that by comfortably outclassing Pakistan in their own backyard despite fielding a second-string team. After thrashing Sarfaraz and his men in the first T20 by 64 runs, the Dasun Shanaka-led Sri Lanka once again came out as victors in Lahore on Monday, thanks to sublime performances from Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwan Pradeep, and Wanindu Hasaranga.
With the defeat, Pakistan lost their third successive bilateral T20I series in a row. And Skipper Sarfaraz admitted that they were below-par in all departments in the first two matches and said that they will need to revise their bowling strategies. However, he did defend his players and said that it will be unfair to criticize due to the sheer amount of effort they put in prior to the series' commencement.
"I don't think we played good cricket in both games in any of the departments. We will need to rethink about our bowling strategies and also be sharper on the field, Sarfaraz told in the post-match presentation, reported Cricbuzz.
"A couple of key run out chances were missed. With the bat, we lost too many wickets in the first 10 overs and from there, it's always a tough ask. Boys are trying hard, so can't be too harsh on them, hopefully they'll learn from this," he added.
The Pakistan skipper credited the duo of Rajapaksa and Shehan Jayasuria, who put on a 94-run stand for the third wicket to break Pakistan's back. Sarfaraz also continued to defend the duo of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, who once again failed to make their chances count, with the former scoring his second consecutive golden duck.
"If we don't get wickets in the middle overs, it will hurt in the shorter formats. Rajapaksa and Jayasuriya played brilliantly. (On the recall of certain discarded players, indirectly mentioning Akmal and Shehzad) If you look at their domestic performances, they've been really well and deserved an opportunity," the 32-year-old said.
Shanaka, who has led a fearless, young Sri Lankan team in this series, also said that the people who have been given chances have put their hands up and its now up to the selectors to decide whether to persist with them or not.
"We played some quality cricket and that's why we got these results. Rajapaksa played a masterclass innings. We had a plan and did well to stick to it. These youngsters should get more chances after this tour but there are senior players as well. It's upto the selectors," said the Sri Lankan skipper.
The third and final T20 between the two teams will be played in Lahore on Wednesday.