KARACHI - Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is happy that the team was able to give their Australian head coach Dav Whatmore a winning send off by beating Sri Lanka in the third Test at Sharjah. Though the team officials and players arrived in two batches at the Karachi and Lahore airports on Tuesday, they were given a warm welcome by cricket enthusiasts and fans gathered outside the terminals.
Most of the players and officials were garlanded as they came out of the terminal with a beaming Whatmore leading the way. "We had made up our mind that we will try to chase any target on the final day against Sri Lanka. We were desperate to win the match for our head coach who is leaving us now," Misbah told reporters at the airport.
"At our team meeting the night before the final day, it was decided that even if we lost the test and the series two nil we would try to chase down the target," Misbah said. Pakistan's Test and ODI captain said he was delighted with the response of the young players in the side in the series particularly on the final day.
"It was encouraging to see Azhar Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed play so well while Ahmed Shahzad also got a century in the first innings and Muhammad Talha bowled so well," Misbah said. The Pakistan skipper said he was also a bit surprised by the negative tactics of the Sri Lankans in the test although they led the series one nil. "But at the end of the day, their tactics worked in our favor the pressure of trying to maintain that lead worked against them," he added.
Pakistan team's manager Moin Khan said that the historic victory would give a much needed injection to Pakistan cricket. "People want to see the team playing positively. They know that one team will lose one team will win but I the people were delighted with the way we chased the target and won," he said. He said the victory will also give a big boost to the team for the forthcoming Asia Cup and the World T20 Cup.
"Fortunately, for these two formats we have some very talented and experienced players and great combinations." Interestingly, while Misbah was the hero of the day after the Sharjah victory, Pakistan's former captain, Muhammad Yousuf again insisted that he would like to see Misbah replaced as the national one-day captain by experienced allrounder, Shahid Afridi.
"I think the correct approach now is to have separate captains for the three formats and Afridi should be made one-day team captain while Misbah can continue to lead the test side," Yousuf said. He also advised the cricket board to take a decision on the captaincy as soon as possible as the players should be clear about the leadership and plans for the 2015 World Cup. "I still say even after this victory that Misbah is best suited for test cricket and does not have the aggressive streak to lead in one-day cricket," Yousuf added. The senior batsman also felt that Sri Lanka had also handed the match to Pakistan with their negative and defensive tactics during the third test.