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‘We’re grateful to India for this gift…’: Pakistan head coach flummoxes everyone with unusual remark after record loss

Pakistan head coach, Bradburn termed the heaviest defeat against India a “gift” and thanked Rohit Sharma’s men for the treatment in the Asia Cup match.

Pakistan were handed their heaviest defeat (in terms of runs) in an ODI against on Monday. In the Asia Cup Super 4 match that went on for two days – rain pushed the match to the reserve day – India pummelled Pakistan by 228 runs, outplaying the Babar Azam-led side in every department of the game in what can be described as a clinical display. This was Pakistan’s second-biggest loss in ODIs. After conceding the joint-highest total against India (356), Pakistan were bowled out for 128 – their third lowest in ODIs against India – in just 32 overs. A knee-jerk reaction after such a heavy defeat to the arch-rivals is not uncommon. Some harsh words, a stern scrutiny, and a few frowns are the bare minimum. But Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn did nothing of that sort. What he said after the confidence-denting defeat to India, was least expected.

Bradburn termed the loss a “gift” and thanked India for the treatment in the match. The former New Zealand international said the heavy pounding against India will serve as a “wake-up call” before the World Cup for a side that hasn’t lost much in the last three months.

“My gut feeling is that we are grateful for the gift that has been this last two days,” Bradburn told reporters after the drubbing.

“We don’t get to play some of the best players in the world very often,” he added. “We haven’t lost a game of cricket for the last three months, so it’s a timely reminder that we need to turn up every day, put in our best on the park, and it’s actually a gift in the last two days we haven’t done that.”

Bradburn is not wrong here. Pakistan have been in top form in ODIs in the last few months. Such has been their dominance in this format that they became the No.1-ranked side just before the Asia Cup. Even in this tournament, they started off with a bang, blowing away Nepal in the opening game, giving India’s top-order a nightmare in the washout game and then registering another easy 7-wicket win against Bangladesh.

Pakistan elected to bowl after Azam won the toss but the team soon lost their grip after a 121-run opening stand between skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul hit 122 and 111 respectively to extend India’s domination in an unbeaten stand of 233.

“We lost at all facets of the game,” Bradburn said. “No excuses, we weren’t good enough in the last two days.”

Pakistan’s bowling, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, had rattled India’s top order last week in an Asia Cup group game, bowling them out for 266 before the match was abandoned because of rain.

But Rohit, Gill, Rahul and Kohli came roaring back in the Super Four contest to take the attack to the bowlers.

Bradburn, a former New Zealand international who played seven Tests and 11 ODIs, said Pakistan will learn from the batting assault.

“Certainly wasn’t a surprise. Everyone’s seen how lethal our bowling attack is and good teams will counteract that,” he said.

Azam started the tournament with 151 against minnows Nepal but Bradburn said Pakistan’s batting still lacked firepower.

“Our batting unit hasn’t clicked in the past month and again, that is a positive sign,” he said. We have full trust in them. We are very consistent with our selection. We know they will come right.”

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