Crescent Kashmir

Yousuf lauds Pakistan for hard-earned win at Galle

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KARACHI: Pakistan batting coach Mohammad Yousuf has praised the national team for their match-winning performance in the first Test against Sri Lanka in tough conditions at Galle.

“As the [team’s] batting coach, I feel proud the way the team played in Galle under difficult [batting] conditions,” Yousuf said in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday.

“Chasing a huge 344, and that too on a square turner in Galle where before this Test big totals were never successfully achieved, when [slow left-arm spinner] Prabath Jaya­suriya and other Sri Lankan spinners were creating all sorts of trouble is indeed a massive achievement,” the 47-year-old underlined.

“The credit for this win no doubt goes to our batters.”

Yousuf, who played 90 Tests during an illustrious career, specifically commended opener Abdullah Shafi­que whose glorious unbeaten century took Pakistan to a hard-earned four-wicket victory on the last day.

“Crafting a marathon fourth-innings century on a massively turning track at a tender age of 22 in your sixth Test is a great feat indeed. I think I at this age did not batted like he did,” Yousuf said of the right-hander who now holds a handsome batting average of 80.00 in Tests.

The coach also mentioned the positive approach of the Sialkot-born batter.

“On the morning of the final day before the start of play, I asked Abdullah, who had already spent more than four hours at the crease [on the fourth day], how he was feeling [mentally and physically and what should be done next [to win the Test],” Yousuf, who according to unconfirmed reports is going to be appointed as national team’s batting coach permanently, said.

“He [Abdullah] responded in a highly positive tone saying he was absolutely fine and would try to finish the game, which shows his maturity as a batter who did not let [physical or mental] fatigue overwhelm him in any way.”

Yousuf had a special word of praise for captain Babar Azam whose century in the first innings kept the tourists, who at one stage were tottering at 85-7, alive.

“Babar is among the world’s top three batters. His classic century, which was a good blend of attack and defence, under pressure was exceptional and is very rare.”

Yousuf also applauded the cameos played by Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Mohammad Nawaz (19 not out) in the second innings, saying their contribution in very demanding batting conditions was crucial in making sure Pakistan got to the target.

“The last-day batting by Rizwan and Nawaz was priceless. Rizwan’s belligerent stance in his short yet vital knock must have given confidence to Abdullah and Nawaz’s end­u­rance and wise handling of the Sri Lankan spinners on a wearing pitch made sure we reached the target.”

He also highlighted the role played by head coach Saqlain Mushtaq for the Pakistan team.

“Credit for this victory also goes to Saqlain who enjoys a very good chemistry with Babar. Both of them combine well for the team which is doing well,” Yousuf concluded.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2022


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