Sharjah, Mar 27 (IANS): Stand-in Pakistan captain Shadab Khan believes plenty of positives will come from his side's series loss to Afghanistan and the consistent efforts of experienced absentees Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan will be further appreciated when the star duo return to the national setup.
Babar and Rizwan were rested for the ongoing three-game series against Afghanistan in Sharjah as a host of players with less experience and fewer credentials were given the chance to shine in the absence of the ultra-reliable top-order pair.
The results from the opening two games of the series haven't gone to plan as Afghanistan registered a thrilling seven-wicket victory over Pakistan on Sunday to clinch their first series triumph over their Asian rival.
"People criticise Babar and Rizwan regardless of whether they perform or not. There is always a sword hanging over them of strike rate. As a nation, we wanted youngsters to come in international cricket, as they were performing in PSL (Pakistan Super League), so we thought they would play with a better strike rate," Shadab was quoted as saying by ICC.
"But finally, our nation will realise that experience matters and our seniors didn't get the respect they deserved considering their performances. So after this series, they will get a lot more respect from media and the nation."
Pakistan lost three wickets inside the first four overs of Sunday's clash and were always on the backfoot as they mustered a modest total of 130/6 from their 20 overs.
Afghanistan chased down that victory target with a solitary delivery remaining, leaving Shadab to ponder what may have been if his side had been able to post a slightly larger total.
"When you lose three wickets in powerplay, you lose 70 per cent of the games… the young players were nervous," Shadab said.
"They are playing for the first time for Pakistan, but we have to back them.
"Our motive for this series was to check out talented young players and we have to back them in the future."