'Practice karte ho toh apply kyun nahi karte?': Akram bluntly asks Yousuf on Pakistan's batting; here's how he replies
Wasim Akram posed a rather straightforward question to Pakistan's batting coach Mohammad Yousuf following the side's 8-wicket loss to England in the sixth T20I in Lahore.
Pakistan faced a heavy loss in the sixth T20I of the series against England, forcing a decider in the seven-match series on Friday. The visitors chased down a 170-run target in merely 14.3 overs in Lahore, with opener Philip Salt smashing a brilliant unbeaten 88 off just 41 deliveries. For Pakistan, captain Babar Azam top-scored with an unbeaten 87 but had limited support from the other batters in the lineup – a story retold after almost every Pakistan game of late.
Shan Masood was dismissed on a duck while Haider Ali scored a 14-ball 18 before Iftikhar Ahmed showed some fight in his 31. Asif Ali, who came to bat at no.6, failed again as he could only score 9 as the Pakistan middle-order left the fans wanting for more yet again. Babar carried the bat at the end of the innings for the side but it didn't prove to be enough for the English team.
Following the game, Pakistan's batting coach Mohammad Yousuf was invited in the studio to discuss the game alongside legendary former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram, who talked to him about the consistent failings in the middle-order. Giving an example of England's Ben Duckett
“Ben Duckett bowler ko, especially spinners ko set hone deta hi nahi. Vo har jagah shots maarta hai. Agar main Pakistan ke against khelu, toh mujhe pata hoga inhone kidhar shots maarni hain. Vo versatile nahi hain. Koi koshish bhi nahi karta. 360 is too much to ask, 180 hi kar lein. Ye practice karte ho aap, aur agar karte ho toh apply kyun nahi karte? (Ben Duckett doesn't let the spinners settle. He hits everywhere. If I play against Pakistan, I would know which batsman would target which area. They aren't as versatile. They don't even try. I'm not asking them to be a 360-degree player, at least try 180. Do you practice such shots? And if you do, why aren't they implying?)” Akram asked the Pakistan batting coach.
Yousuf, in turn, insisted that there have been efforts to ensure that the Pakistan batters – particularly in the middle order – become more versatile in their stroke-playing. The Pakistan batting coach also revealed that he stands behind the batters as they take on the spinners in the nets, and suggest them a number of aggressive shots.
“I'm trying to. I talk to Saqlain bhai every day about making our batters play on all sides of the ground, because that doesn't give bowlers much of an option. In nets, we have planned about this. When batters play spinners, I stand behind and suggest our batsmen a number of different shots. When we used to play, one of our players knew where the ball would come,” Yousuf said.
“I keep talking to them in the nets about playing reverse-sweep, or a simple-sweep. They also try in the nets. Recently against West Indies, Khushdil attempted reverse-sweep; even here, he took on Moeen Ali. So, we are trying. I don't know if the people before me did this as well, but I keep trying,” the former Pakistan batter insisted.
The final T20I of the seven-match series will be played on October 2 in Lahore.