Butt stands by pitiful Pakistan
Pakistan captain Salman Butt “trusts” his team to reverse their fortunes in the wake of their Trent Bridge humbling.
The tourists were crushed by 354 runs, bowled out for a meagre 80 - their lowest total against England - on the fourth morning to put the seal on a woeful performance, particularly with the bat, in the opening npower Test.
Pakistan responded immediately by recalling 35-year-old batsman Mohammad Yousuf, who was banned - and then retired - in the aftermath of their miserable tour of Australia, and releasing underperforming leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.
“It was disappointing,” said Butt, who was leading the side for only the second time in Tests. “We were certainly expecting better things of ourselves - and we need to improve.
“But this is the time when you back your players. The faith I have in them; I know they can make a comeback.
“All players know every day is a different day. They’re a young side with limited experience but they have the talent and have shown they can do it. I fully trust my team will be back.”
The margin of victory may mask England’s occasional peril during an enthralling contest - they were 118 for four in the first innings before being rescued by Eoin Morgan and Paul Collingwood, and 98 for six before Matt Prior did likewise in the second - while Pakistan’s cause was hardly helped by a shoddy fielding display.
However, Butt was perhaps stretching the truth when he said: “There is not much difference between the two sides in terms of batting. If we had held our chances they could have been out below 200.”
The 25-year-old claims Pakistan are not alone in struggling against an attack as potent as England’s, especially in conditions that enabled James Anderson to claim 6-17 in the second innings and 11-71 in the match, his maiden 10-wicket haul.
And, ahead of the second Test at Edgbaston starting on Friday, he challenged his players to demonstrate the resolve that saw them bounce back from a heavy defeat to Australia in the opening MCC Spirit of Cricket Test to record a first win over them in 15 years.
“I think everybody has a problem against the swinging ball, not only the Pakistan team,” Butt said.
“The first game against Australia was a bit like this and we must remember the second game we won, so that will make us stronger in the next game.
“These things happen. We definitely have to regroup, come up with a new strategy and make us stronger. We have everything to work on but I truly believe in my team.
“All of us need to take responsibility. But what I've been saying is I am backing my young side.
“I know they have the ability - that is why they are here - so I expect them to show people what they are here for.”