Lack of contributions from middle-order batting quite worrying: Inzamam

ISLAMABAD (APP): Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq feels that the lack of contributions from the middle order is quite worrying for Pakistan and they need to address it to emerge as a strong batting lineup.

“Pakistan have been very lucky that their all three top-order batsmen – Babar [Azam], Fakhar [Zaman], and Imam [-ul-Haq] scored runs in the ODIs against South Africa. But there is no one after them, who has played some notable knocks.

“The same is happening in the T20 that after two to three top-order batsmen, there is no support from the rest of the batting lineup,” he said on his YouTube channel ‘The Match Winner’.

“So Pakistan will have to think about their middle-order batting and try to bring in such batsmen who can score some runs for them.

It is not possible that your top order will score runs in every match. You need to have a strong middle order if you want your team to perform with consistency,” he added.

Commenting on young right-hand batsman Haider Ali’s performance, the erstwhile batting great said he would have to learn the art of staying at the wicket. “It is for the past several matches that he has been losing his wicket after scoring a few runs.

I have already stated that he is a highly talented batsman, who has the ability to hit well, but he must understand that he will have to spend some time at the crease before going for big shots. He must try to understand that in cricket runs are not only scored through boundaries [and sixes].”

The former captain noted that Pakistan could not manage a collective batting effort with the bat and that was why they fell cheaply in the second T20. He said Faheem Ashraf and other all-rounders would have to contribute with the bat by scoring some runs. “Pakistan scored 140 runs but I think if they had scored 160 to 165 runs, the situation would have been different.”

He said Babar made a run-a-ball fifty and seemed somewhat under pressure as if he was thinking that if he would lose his wicket the team would not be able to score runs.

He said fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi needed some rest to remain fit. “He is playing continuously in all the formats. He is a human being and I think his body is somewhat weary. Hence, Pakistan will have to adopt a rotation policy as it is not possible to always play all the players in all the matches,” he added.

Inzamam said Shadab Khan’s performance with the ball was not up to the mark for quite some time but he was an outstanding player. “Pakistan also won some matches due to his batting. He is also a very good fielder too.

“I think he should be given confidence as he can take wickets during the middle overs. [As a leg-spinner], he has a big hand in Pakistan’s several wins.”

Inzamam, however, gave credit to South Africa for making a strong comeback after losing the first T20. “They bowled very well despite the absence of their main players. Their fielding was up to the mark as they took catches besides saving valuable runs.”

“Definitely, the victory would have raised the morale of the young South African team.

After trouncing them in the ODI series, Pakistan had pulled off an important win in the first T20.

I hope fans will enjoy exciting cricket in the remaining two matches,” added the 51-year-old Inzamam, who scored 8,830 runs in 120 Tests and 11,739 runs in 378 ODIs.