Pakistan captain Babar Azam was left to rue injuries to his key fast bowlers after England completed a sweep of their test series on Tuesday.
“We were unfortunate that our main fast bowlers were not fit,” Babar said after England recorded an emphatic eight-wicket win in the third and final test and handed Pakistan its first 3-0 whitewash in a home test series.
“The new players did perform but couldn’t execute the way we wanted. When things were in our hands we had soft dismissals in those times and due to that we couldn’t win matches which we should have won.”
Pakistan’s premier fast bowler Shaheen Afridi was ruled out for the series because of knee injury while Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah also sustained injuries during the first test which ruled them out for the last two matches.
“Fitness has the main role because if you are not extra fit you cannot compete in all the three formats,” Babar said.
“You get two to three days to switch from one format to the other and you have to be mentally ready as well.” Pakistan gave test caps to seamer Mohammad Ali, who took four wickets in the first test before he finished wicketless in the second test and got dropped from the final match. Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim had a disappointing debut in the final test and could take only one wicket and that was after Harry Brook had completed his third successive century of England’s memorable tour.
“When you don’t have the backbone of your bowling, then new bowlers found it difficult to adjust quickly,” Babar said.
“The way England played, they did not let us settle down.” England scored at a belligerent pace throughout the series that began with a world-record 506-4 on the opening day of the first test and culminated with 170-2 at better than run-a-ball at Karachi on Tuesday.
Babar said Pakistan’s strength was its batting, but in all the three test matches the middle-order and the lower order crashed against England’s pace and spin.
Left-handed Saud Shakeel, who made his test debut, couldn’t convert his four fifties into big hundreds and Babar also performed in patches.
Pakistan twice came close in the first two test matches before succumbing under Ben Stokes’ aggressive tactics and lost by 74 runs and 26 runs at Rawalpindi and Multan, respectively.
“Our strength was our batting, but we played well in patches and couldn’t finish the games,” Babar said.
“It’s a big disappointment that we couldn’t apply ourselves in the series, but we must praise England for the way they played their cricket, we must appreciate that.” Pakistan has just five days to recover from its worst ever loss at home as New Zealand will be arriving for a two-test series this week, followed by three ODIs. The first test begins at Karachi from next Monday, followed by the second match in Multan from Jan. 3-7. Karachi will host the three ODIs between Jan. 10-14.