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The Test season hasn’t gone according to expectations : Babar Azam

Karachi : Pakistan captain Babar Azam admitted that his team’s home season hasn’t panned out as per the expectations of people in the country. Pakistan’s share of Test matches in their home season ended without a single win, with the latest being a thrilling drawn second Test against New Zealand at Karachi on Friday.

The result meant Pakistan’s two-match series against New Zealand at home ended in a 0-0 affair, after suffering a 3-0 thrashing in home conditions at the hands of England in December 2022.

“The Test season hasn’t gone according to expectations. It’s not an excuse but some of our players were unfit which disturbed our combination. Of course there’s talk about the pitches, but conditions are different at every venue.”

“We give our input on pitches, but you get the pitches you get, and after that you have to execute your plans. You can’t just complain about losing a match because of pitches. We prepared them according to our plans, but results didn’t go our way,” said Azam in the post-match press conference.

Azam was quick in acknowledging the role of veteran wicketkeeper-batter Sarfaraz Ahmed, who made a counter-attacking 118 in the fourth innings on the final day of the match, and of last batting pair in Abrar Ahmed and Naseem Shah for seeing off 21 balls before bad light forced a draw.

“It’s difficult to play the new ball when the fielders are up but Naseem and Abrar held their nerve at the death. The way Saifi (Sarfaraz) came back and got us out of a hole was amazing, because his partnership with (Saud) Shakeel brought us back into the match.

He’s come back after four years and had a dream comeback, after waiting all those years. It was his belief that kept him going.” Azam signed off by saying Pakistan are trying to learn from the mistakes committed in the winless home Test season, and emphasised a lot on fitness being of prime importance in a hectic cricketing schedule.

“We’re trying to learn from our mistakes. Everyone has their own opinions but we have to focus on our performance. Forming a team takes time. Our Test side was very good, but suddenly there were a few injuries, which disturbed our players and altered the form of our side.”

“We’ve tried to do our best but it just hasn’t worked out. We’ll look at whether to have Test specialist players in future. There’s so much cricket if you want to play all three formats you’ll have to be ultra-fit.”



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