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Mental fatigue weighing Pakistan down: Rasheed

KARACHI: Pakistan endured another nightmarish day on their Down Under sojourn as Australia openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw smashed stroke-filled centuries to all but knock out the tourists on day one of the dead rubber Sydney Test on Tuesday.

Former chief selector and Test batsman Haroon Rasheed feels that the damning loss in Melbourne left the team tired and mentally fatigued, and once the Australians started on an aggressive note, there was no coming back for Misbahul Haq’s men.

“Pakistan were on the back foot since the onset; losing the toss on a good batting pitch against attacking batsmen decided it for Pakistan. The bowlers bowled all over the place and Warner blazed away. The heavy loss in the preceding Test made it really tough and it seems as if the players never recovered from that.”

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The pace-bowling quartet of Mohammad Amir, Imran Khan and Wahab Riaz bore the brunt of Warner’s attack, who posted his 100 off 78 balls in the opening session of the Test to become the first batsman to score a century before lunch on the opening day of a Test match on Australian soil.

Warner eventually fell for 113 but Pakistan’s relief was short-lived as Renshaw posted his maiden Test hundred in the last session of the day; he ended the day unbeaten on 167 off 275 balls with his team sitting pretty at 365-3.

Rasheed expressed his surprise over the benching of Sohail Khan in favour of Imran, “Sohail bowled decently in Melbourne besides his batting contribution — 65 in the first innings. I am not aware of his fitness though and unless there was an issue there, he shouldn’t have been benched. Imran has hardly played in recent months and I feel it wasn’t right to ask him to deliver on a batting track against quality batsmen,” he said.

‘Senior players a massive disappointment’

Rasheed also observed that while Australia have been wonderfully served by their senior players like Warner and captain Steve Smith, Pakistan’s senior batting duo of Misbah and Younus Khan have been major disappointments on the tour.

“We need to take stock of the situation; Australians have their senior players delivering which is inspiring their youngsters who are emulating their feats. On the contrary, our senior batsmen have been unable to carry the burden which has made it very tough for the younger lot. Yasir Shah’s bowling form and control is also lacking; he has proved ineffective which has made the bowling attack toothless.”

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Yasir had another forgettable day as he conceded 100 plus runs for the sixth time in his last 12 innings finishing the day with a return of one for 132 in 30 overs his only success of the day was Smith’s scalp.

‘Structural reforms necessary’

The poor start to the Sydney Test sees Pakistan staring at the prospect of their 12th consecutive long-format defeat in Australia, a run that started from the 1999 Brisbane Test.

Rasheed, who was removed as chief selector following the debacle in last year’s World T20 in India, feels that bucking the defeat’s trend in Australia is a formidable challenge for Pakistan and the authorities need to start planning for the next tour to avoid making the same mistakes.

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“I am afraid we can’t expect to win in Australia without structural reforms and a long-term plan. We haven’t won there for 20 years which means that we need to prioritise and map out a strategy for the next Test-tour Down Under; 12 defeats in a row is embarrassing for a team like Pakistan and I hope that the PCB can find a solution to reverse this depressing trend.”

courtesy : express tribune

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