'We played very bravely' - Head coach Saqlain Mushtaq on Pakistan's 0-3 loss at home to England

Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq reflected on the positives in the side’s 0-3 Test series defeat to England at home.
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“If you decode it session by session, Pakistan played great cricket”

Saqlain Mushtaq, the Pakistan head coach felt that there wasn’t much gulf between his side and visitors England, after they were clean swept 0-3 in the recent Test series at home. It was the first time Pakistan were white-washed 0-3 in a home Test series.

Saqlain felt that Pakistan played “great cricket” in various phases, while adding that he was disappointed the most with the second Test defeat in Multan, wherein the hosts looked in control during their fourth-innings run-chase until a late collapse. He also expressed his disapproval of Saud Shakeel being adjudged caught for 94 in a debatable call. Pakistan needed 64 with four wickets in hand at that stage, and eventually fell short by 26 runs.

"If you look at 3-0, it'll be shocking. But if you decode it session by session, Pakistan played great cricket," Saqlain, Pakistan's head coach, told Geo News. "The first two matches we could have won. There wasn't a huge gulf between these two sides. If we'd taken the lead we could have won. The second Test hurt me, but we have to respect the umpire's decision, even though the whole world recognised that was not a catch."

Pakistan’s defeat has almost knocked them out of the race to a top-two finish in the ongoing World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle, with them having now slipped to the seventh spot in the eight-team table with a point-percentage of 38.89. Saqlain though, marked performances of Saud, Salman Agha and Mohammad Wasim as the key positives, while hoping for the team to learn from the recent results.

"We played very bravely. We had a vision of qualifying for the WTC final, but we couldn't move that way," he said. "But there were a lot of positives in Saud, Salman Agha and Mohammad Wasim.

"Three-nil hurts. I would also like to go hide in a corner and cry, but if you look at the bigger picture, they had a lot more experience than us. These are not excuses, but experience guides you in key situations, especially in long-form cricket. When you don't have experience, you become stuck somewhere.

"Our dressing room had much fewer matches. In the longer version, all your weaknesses get exposed. The tactics, technical, mental and physical aspects can get hidden in the shorter formats, but not in the longer format. This is a part of the game. When you enter professional life, you know there will be good and bad days. If you look at bad days and think it's the worst day of your life, you can't move forward. Of course we didn't expect 3-0, but we'll learn a lot from this."