Need to improve our batting, says Shoaib Malik

Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) Expressing surprise over the Eden Garden pitch, Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik has blamed the batsmen for his side’s loss to arch-rivals India in the World Twenty2o group encounter here on Saturday.

“Losing and winning are part of the game but the fact remains we need to improve in a few areas, especially our batting. Even though the pitch was tough to bat on, I feel we could have set a better target.”

“Credit goes to the Indian team for playing the way they did on a difficult pitch,” said Malik after suffering a six-wicket defeat to the Indians.

Talking about the pitch, Malik shared Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni’s post-match views that he was surprised at seeing the spinners getting plenty of help from Eden track throughout the game.

“We were not expecting to get this kind of pitch. Even Dhoni said the same thing. We thought the pitch will be similar to the one we played on against Bangladesh,” he said.

“We all are human beings and we can just have an idea of how the pitch will behave. Looking at the pitch, it didn’t seem to be different from the one against Bangladesh. In fact, it looked to be better wicket.”

“There are things which are beyond our control but the one thing that we need to focus on is our batting,” said the middle order batsman.

Malik also defended his skipper Shahid Afridi’s decision to come in at number three.

“Twenty20 is a game where one needs to be flexible. Our openers had played too many overs and the way Afridi played in the last match (against Bangladesh) we couldn’t have overlooked that.”

“A captain usually leads from the front and he felt he could have scored quick runs. Since the pitch wasn’t easy to bat, so this decision was taken,” said Malik.

He also refused to put the blame on the bowlers for the defeat.

Malik also rejected suggestions of the rain induced delay having an adverse effect on his team.

The match began an hour late and was reduced to an 18-over affair following early evening thundershowers.

Effusive in his praise for man-of-the-match Virat Kohli, Malik described the star Indian batsman as the “difference between the two teams”.

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