Test-deprived Pakistan needs time, says captain
by AFP

Player:Younis Khan

DateLine: 15th July 2009


Captain Younus Khan has blamed Pakistan's Test series defeat against Sri Lanka on inexperience, saying his team just does not play enough matches.


"There has been hardly any Test cricket for us in the last couple of years, so whenever we are under pressure we collapse," Younus told reporters after a seven-wicket defeat in the second Test on Tuesday.


The loss gave Sri Lanka a decisive 2-0 lead in the three-match series with the final Test due to start at the Sinhalese sports club in the Sri Lankan capital on July 20.


"It's not about technique, nor is it about bowling or the weather," said Younus. "There is no Test cricket for us, so sometimes we do well, sometimes we don't."


The reluctance of teams to tour Pakistan due to security concerns and the International Cricket Council's (ICC) scheduling has seen Younus' men play just four Tests in the last 18 months.


All four matches were against Sri Lanka, the second of which was abandoned after armed gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus on March 3 in Lahore.


The attack injured seven Sri Lankan cricketers and an assistant coach and killed six policemen and two civilians, forcing the ICC to move the 2011 World Cup matches out of Pakistan.


Sri Lanka clinched their first home series against Pakistan after the temperamental tourists suffered a spectacular collapse on the third day at the P. Sara Oval.


Pakistan, sitting pretty at 285-1 just before lunch, crashed to 320 all out after the break to leave Sri Lanka a victory target of 171 which was easily achieved with two days to spare.


Of the previous five series between the two nations on Sri Lankan soil, Pakistan had won three and drawn two, but the tourists had only themselves to blame for allowing the hosts to re-write history.


Pakistan's meek surrender against the second new ball came after debutant opener Fawad Alam hit a superb 168 and shared a record stand of 200 for the second wicket with Younus.


Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for 35 runs, their third successive collapse in the series that highlighted their reputation as one of the most unpredictable sides in modern cricket.


Pakistan had seen eight wickets fall for 46 runs on the fourth morning of the Galle Test when just 97 more were needed to win the match.


The tourists then crumbled for a paltry 90 in 36 overs on the first day of this Test after electing to bat on a wicket that provided assistance to the seam bowlers.


"This has happened for the third time," said Younus. "How can we win matches like that? It's shocking for me. We were in a good position, then something happens and we lose. We must work on that.


"I am not a person who will blame anyone, or point a finger at one particular player. We have to find a solution and that can happen only if we play Test cricket regularly."


Younus said there was a lot to play for in the final Test even though the series had been lost.


"More than anything else, we must play for pride," he said. "It will be good if we finish the series 1-2 rather than 0-3.


"We have a one-day series coming up. If we win the third Test, it will motivate us to do well in the one-dayers."


Pakistan had defeated Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final in England last month.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)


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