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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Pak crickets under fire after Zimbabwe loss

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq and his players came under fire after losing the second test to Zimbabwe on Saturday and dropping to sixth in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.

"Misbah has given all he could to Pakistan cricket as captain. There is now a predictability and staleness in his captaincy and our brand of cricket," former captain Ramiz Raja said after the unexpected, 24-run defeat in Harare.

"This is the right time now to have a new captain and introduce some new players. The defeat is embarrassing, frustrating and shameful.

"No one likes to back a losing side," Ramiz added. "We need to rethink our priorities and set a new direction or else people will stop following cricket."

"We have hit rock bottom as a cricket nation," former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said, while Mushtaq Ahmed said he feared for the team in the test and one-day series against number one test nation South Africa starting next month in Abu Dhabi.

"If we can't beat Zimbabwe then we are going to face a torrid time against South Africa," former test leg-spinner Mushtaq said. The win allowed cash-strapped Zimbabwe, who had not beaten a top test-playing nation in more than a decade, to square the two-match series.

"We played our worst cricket against a nation that is struggling with internal problems and whose players were not even in the right frame of mind for this series because of their pay dispute with their board," former wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif said.

Pakistan's batting woes returned to haunt them as Zimbabwe pulled off a dramatic 24-run win to level the series on the fifth day of the second Test at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

Inexperienced Zimbabwe fast bowler Tendai Chatara took five for 61 as Pakistan were bowled out for 239 despite an unbeaten 79 by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

"The batting is a bit of a worry," said Misbah, looking ahead to Pakistan's next Test series, against world champions South Africa in the United Arab Emirates next month.

"All the batsmen have to learn from their mistakes. You can't win Test matches with twenties and thirties. You have to score big runs like Younis Khan did in the first Test."

Younis scored the only century of the series, an unbeaten 200 in the first Test, which Pakistan won by 221 runs at the same venue.

Misbah and opening batsman Khurram Manzoor both scored two half-centuries in the second Test, while Younis contributed 77 in the first innings. But the rest of the batting failed against the spirited Zimbabwean attack.

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