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March 20, 2015

Misbah Ul-Haq


Q. Misbah, first of all, congratulations for your such a brilliant career. My question is you are expecting this type of batting in your last match? Pakistan batting, not yours.
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: No, actually we just lost the way in the middle overs. I mean, we were really going well at one stage, but after 20, 23 overs, suddenly just keep losing wickets, and that's been the trend throughout the World Cup. We are getting starts but we are not converting that into bigger scores, and after six batsmen keep doing like that, it's really difficult for your bowling lineup to just defend totals like that every day, especially on batting pitches like we were playing today. We need to really learn about this. We've got only one hundred throughout the tournament, and this is not how you win tournaments like World Cup. You need batsmen who will score hundreds, and I think we as a batting unit failed to do that.

Q. How did you rate Wahab? Did he expose some flaws for the Australians against pace bowling?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Well, I think it's always like that. Nobody in this world is such good against a bowler who is bowling 150 and with this sort of deceptive pace and bounce. He really bowled well throughout the World Cup. He was totally a different bowler, and today he's shown his class again. At one stage we were pretty much in the game, and the way he was bowling, that catch could have made a big difference, but this the way it is. But I think he really proved himself throughout the World Cup. He bowled excellently.

Q. What was it that fired Wahab up? Was it something that happened when he was batting or was there anything in particular that the Australians did to get him so upset?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: That could be a possibility, but I think he is bowling like that throughout the tournament. I mean, he's bowling quick, and today we're left with no choice. We need wickets, and I think for the country, he was just putting the full effort, trying to take wickets, and he just bowled excellent.

Q. Misbah, your dismissal and a couple of others that followed falling on that mid wicket boundary, I know you sort of mimed the shot a bit angrily after you got out. Is that the thing that's going to stay with you from this game as a disappointing thing?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Yeah, of course. That was part of the plan, that we have to target the fifth or sixth bowler. That's why I was just going after him. Short boundaries, especially, skid up the wicket, but just missed that. This is how this game goes on. You as a batsman need to convert these shots into big innings, otherwise your team just keeps losing. So that's a big disappointment for me, but now the game is over.

Q. Misbah, you played India here and you also played Australia today. What is your prediction for the semifinal?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: I think both sides are really playing good cricket. It is going to be really a tough match. They're both in form, and India also got a chance because they are playing in Sydney, and Sydney pitch, everybody knows that it's a little bit to the spinners, also, and both of their spinners are really bowling well and their batting is really in form. It will be a tough match.

Q. Australia have been a great side coming into this tournament. Today's high-pressure game, did you see any chinks in the Aussie armor that you thought you could have exploited better than what you did?

Q. Did you find any weaknesses in the Australian side that you think you could have exploited better?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: I mean, they played really good cricket. Very balanced team. But I think playing in Sydney, they would just miss a good spinner. That could be a difference there because what I've seen in the past games and when we played against England there, spinners got really success at that pitch, and Imran Tahir got some wickets against England. So that could be a problem for Australia, and also playing against spin, they might just be in trouble there. But overall I think they are a good, balanced side. They've got good allrounders, their bowling is in form, their batting is really doing well. I think that will be a really tough match.

Q. Considering that it was a quarterfinal and your last ODI, you must be really hoping that Pakistan should have won the match, but do you think with the kind of batting we had today and the entire tournament and the way we dropped our catches we deserve to be in the semifinals?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Yeah, it's always difficult when you are just playing like that, especially we need to improve our batting. This has been now a problem for almost three, four years. We are not up to the mark, up to the standards, international standards. We need to really improve that. And also fielding is another aspect where all the other international teams are really going up to a higher level, and we really need to improve that, and obviously that comes with the fitness. A lot of steps have been taken by the cricket board and just trying to develop that sort of system, fitness culture in Pakistani domestic cricket. But still, we are not there, and I think we need to really improve that, otherwise we're going to suffer in the future.

Q. All Australian fastbowlers are quite highly rated, but do you think that Wahab Riaz bowled a spell you can match in with Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar, and what positive that will be for the Pakistan cricket future?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Yeah, I think he was the best from all of the other bowlers who played today. Throughout the World Cup he bowled really well, and you could rate him at the moment one of the best bowlers in the world, the kind of pace he's generating and the way he's bowling. I think still, to become Wasim and Waqar, he needs a lot of experience and especially the kind of yorkers and reverse swing they really bowl. But I think he's a much improved bowler, and he could just be a leading bowler for Pakistan.

Q. I was going to ask you, as you walk off the one day, what is the feeling, what is the message to the youngsters, and on contribution from Afridi, too, to the game?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Yeah, I've already said in yesterday's press conference that it was really an honour for me to just represent my country, and I really enjoyed my cricket. I've already given everything and especially Afridi, also. He put a lot of effort for Pakistan, and we really enjoyed that. We always remember that, and the message for the youngster is that if you really want to be there, to compete in the world, you have to really work hard. That's what our seniors did. That's what we learned from all our greats, and I really enjoyed playing cricket with some of the greats, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, and Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, the kind of fighting spirit I've seen in them. I think we need to just take that as example, and if we really want to compete the world, we have to be up there. This is the only way.

Q. Misbah, do you think lack of international cricket is hurting Pakistan cricket, especially the youngsters?
MISBAH-UL-HAQ: Yeah, that could be a reason, also. I mean, you need more exposure always. Believe in that, that you've got more chances, you've got more exposure, that could really enhance your skills, enhance your confidence level, and you could really become a better player. Pakistan needs -- really Pakistani players need more cricket. What I have been already suggesting to the cricket board, that we need our league, as early as possible, we need more cricket for these youngsters to just improve their skills. Without exposure I think it's not possible.
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