Pakistan head coach Misbah ul-Haq felt that Shadab Khan‘s presence in the XI provided a good balance to the team, which has been absent for a while.
Misbah, who made the call of playing Shadab Khan, an all-rounder in place of Fawad Alam, said after the 2nd day’s play, “For a long time, we struggled to find the right combination for the team. We were either a bowler or a batsman short, Looking at Shadab in these conditions, we thought there might be some help to the spinner. He’s already got three fifties in Test matches, and he’d batted really well in England.”
“The way he batted in the practice games also gave us belief he could excel in that role. That was the reason, and we also know he’s an excellent fielder, so he’s a very attractive package as a whole. He gives us a lot of balance in our team once he’s there at 7.”
Misbah admitted that he was pleased with his team’s performance so far but he cautioned his side about not being complacent; there is still a lot of work to be done in order to seal a first Test victory. He said, “I’m really pleased with them. They put the ball in the right areas. Abbas now has a very good reputation in international cricket. He’s got great control and can move the ball off the seam both ways. They lived up to their expectations today, while Shaheen is our standout bowler, and he did very well in his own right. It’s crucial to take wickets with the new ball, especially when the game is tight and you don’t have a huge number of runs on the board. By taking those early wickets, they gave us the advantage.”
Shan Masood was also asked about the partnership he had with Shadab, to which he replied, “The plan was to capitalise on the platform that had been set yesterday and convert it into a 300-plus total. We lost a few early wickets, but I’d like to praise Shadab for how he batted. There was a little phase of five overs or so just before the new ball which we really managed to make the most of, scoring at almost a run a ball. We ran very well between the wickets, and that put the opposition under pressure. Whoever was set needed to stretch it as far as they could.”
About his own marathon knock, Masood said, “It’s definitely one of my best innings. To be able to score these runs in England is satisfying. But this is just the end product, you don’t see all the preparation we all put in. I’d just like to see us win this Test match, and if we do, I’m more than happy to consider it amongst my best knocks.”