West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite laments team lack of ‘consistency’ as series ends 1-1
Pakistan placed 329 hosts in the second test at Sabina Park, giving themselves a possibility of 130 overs to eliminate the West Indies. Azam said that with Pakistan already lagging behind in the series, they had no choice but to make an early statement after taking a 152 lead in the opening innings.
“The plan was always to have them beat for 20-25 overs on day four, and it ultimately worked out well for us,” he said. “Take the lead up to 330-340 and then have them play in the time left on day four. We had to level the series so we had to make some bold decisions for that – which we took – and things worked out well for us. “
Azam also credited his bowlers with staging the victory and singling out left-arm fast Shaheen Afridi, who won the career best game 10 for 94, including his best 6 for 51 in the opening innings.
“He’s really young, and the way he’s preparing and performing for Pakistan shows he’s such a good talent,” Azam said. “He’s just getting better and better day by day and learning too. He runs the bowling alley too, and it was fun watching him play. He believes in himself, and every time you give him the ball, he plays with the same pace and aggressiveness. So that’s really useful for me as a captain. “
“Our bowlers were exceptional today, and I should only give them all the credit,” said Azam. “Even Nauman Ali played well. It was a day five pitch, and the way he played and got a certain turn, as well as those three of his wickets, was really crucial for us in the end.
“We thought the bowlers could help the field on the last day. We had seen the wicket in the morning and also observed it after lunch today. Therefore, we thought it would turn and help the spinners. There were patches there like well, so we planned to play Nauman, which turned out to be useful for us. “
Azam also praised senior hitter Fawad Alam for his contributions, with Alam reaching his fifth century trying – and his fourth since returning last year – saving Pakistan 2 for 3 in the opening innings and finishing undefeated on 124 on a total of 302.
“As I always said, he is an experienced player. He has so many races in the first class. [cricket] and has such a brilliant record there, ”Azam said. “And so the way he handled the pressure, built his heats and contributed for the team depending on the conditions was exceptional. All of our drummers need to learn from him too. “
Azam’s counterpart Brathwaite demanded more from his hitters, however, with the West Indies folding for 150 and 219 in the game.
“We were behind the eight balls from the start,” said Brathwaite. “That’s obviously what we need consistently. Trial cricket is never easy. All guys can technically beat, it’s just the state of mind. The faster we get to that strong mentality [the better]. The first 30 balloons are always the toughest time and finding ways to get through those times is key for us. “
Brathwaite drew a few positives from the series, most notable of which was the performance of fast pitcher Jayden Seales, who rolled a five in the first test, becoming his country’s youngest at that feat in the cricket test.
“He’s a star in the making, you see him getting over 250 wickets,” Brathwaite said of the 19-year-old. “I know he has a great future ahead of him. With the experience of our bowling group – Kemar, [and] Jason, she’s definitely a future star. “
Brathwaite also credited Pakistani bowlers and Alam for their show, and felt that a significant delay in the opening innings ultimately made the difference.
“As a bowling unit they were very consistent,” he said. “As far as the hitters go, their guys who got into the first innings were big. Obviously, Fawad getting a hundred is something for me and the hitters – when we start that start, we make it count.
“I still think it’s positive since we haven’t lost the series. I think the team did a great job in the first test. We let ourselves down in the opening sets of this game. Well done again. to the bowlers for leading the way. We made some progress in the series, but in this Test the first innings really disappointed us. “