4:57 PM ETMelinda FarrellCloseMelinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfoFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint
After the kicking comes the clicking.
Such a stark turnaround after 11 straight losses – the most recent: a complete shellacking by the West Indies – to defeat the World Cup hosts and favourites shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows Pakistan, of course. But in the end it was a confidence-boosting session among the players after the West Indies loss that triggered the reversal of fortune.
“You can lose but when you start feeling it and realising that you played badly, we all had that realisation that we didn’t play well then,” said Mohammad Hafeez. “It’s not on especially to perform like that at a World Cup.”
“So we had that realisation. Everyone took responsibility. We all sat down, gave each other confidence. Somebody came to me and gave me that confidence, I went to somebody else and gave them that confidence. We made each other remember the good performances we’ve all put in. We had this desire to pick up a good, big win here and move on with that. We have been playing well as a team, but we weren’t able to close out and win games.
“Today, every player expressed themselves, as a batsman, as a bowler, we all went on the field and did everything we could. We didn’t hold back. It’s a good sign that we have that winning feeling back in the dressing room. That will give us more confidence and hopefully we can maintain that.”
Perhaps too much was made of that losing streak; the side that succumbed to Australia was essentially a second string team and they were competitive in two of the ODIs they played against England prior to the tournament. The inclusion of Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Hafeez and Shadab Khan has given the bowling line up, in particular, a very different look. But on top of that, Hasan Ali credited the belief instilled by coach Mickey Arthur for Pakistan’s about face.
“After the first match we sat and we talked about our weaknesses and we talked about plans and execution and all these things,” said Hasan. “But one thing is very important, which is our coach is always backing us, so I think that moment was turning us because everybody is very confident and the guys want to win.
“We were very disappointed we lost 11 games in a row but you know one thing is very important, we believe in ourselves and we know we needed just a little bit of a kick and then we will click. So I think we’ve got the kick and we are very happy.”
It’s not often you come across fast bowlers who dabble in rhyming couplets, but Hasan may have nailed what many have tried to explain about Pakistan’s famous fluctuations.
They just needed the right kick to click.