Disciplinary issues, fitness standards irk Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq
Pakistan recently suffered a whitewash against Sri Lanka in the three-game T20I series at home and Misbah remains very disappointed at the way the top-ranked side capitulated to Sri Lanka in front of home crowds.
"What has disturbed Misbah the most in his first assignment as head coach and the chief selector is the reluctance of some players to follow directions of the management and do proper training to keep high fitness standards," one source said.
"He is unhappy that some players are just too relaxed and take training lightly and are not working on improving their cricket discipline. He has also not been encouraged by the attitude of captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed whom he feels shies away from taking responsibility when the chips are down.
Another source told PTI that Misbah was surprised by the behaviour of three senior players -- Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, and Haris Sohail.
"Several times he felt they were making excuses to shy away from training and proper nets. He got the feeling they had some sort of excuse ready to go easy on their training," the source said.
"Batsman, Haris Sohail has developed a painful habit of making excuses for having some niggling problem or pain when asked to push himself in training.
"Another problem which confronts Misbah is that most of the players don't appear to have the cricket discipline to follow and execute plans on the field which are discussed in the dressing room.
The source said at one stage Misbah even felt that the decision of former head coach Mickey Arthur to keep left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz out of the team was understandable.
The long-serving former Pakistan captain is also not pleased that some players are also not displaying the required professional standards.
"Two players bluntly informed their team's head coaches that they would reach for the National T20 Championship matches in Faisalabad on the morning of the games. When Misbah came to know about this he told the head coaches they should be more firm with the players and ensure they joined their provincial team a day before the matches," one source said.
Misbah is also surprised that Arthur and the ex-support staff didn't pay enough attention to developing proper batsmen in all formats and didn't look beyond Babar Azam.
"It is not a very happy situation now and one can expect Misbah to take some hard decisions as chief selector while selecting the T20 and Test squads for the coming tour of Australia," he said.
Zahid Mahmood, a leg-spinner who in the past has been ignored by the selectors and coaches, is now under the consideration of Misbah who is not satisfied with the form of current team leggies, Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan.
Similarly, Misbah is also on the lookout for some new pace bowlers and youngster Naseem Shah is under his scanner for the Australian tour.
The source said it will also be interesting to see whether Misbah supports Sarfaraz Ahmed to continue as a Test captain when the board meets to decide on the captains for the Australian tour..