Could he have done anything differently? Getty

"Maybe I did something? Probably I made our right-hand batsmen switch to left-handed batting or maybe made our right-handers bowl with the left arm or vice-versa?"

That's Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's head coach and selector, being tongue-in-cheek after his T20I team, a unit carefully put together by previous coach Mickey Arthur, lost 3-0 to a young Sri Lankan side.

To sum the situation up, it is a bit of a difficult time in Pakistan cricket. They have reshuffled the entire domestic setup, reluctantly showed faith in the incumbent captain, appointed a fresh face as a coach, and are desperately trying to bring cricket back home. In that backdrop, this latest series loss to Sri Lanka is a bit of a dent in their confidence, coming at just the wrong time.

"It's an example for us the way they have beaten us in every department," Misbah said. "They won the games in almost one-sided fashion leaving us in tatters and with lots of questions to answer. We played very poor cricket and definitely it's my responsibility but I am still thinking what really happened because these are the same set of players that have been playing for long and made the team No. 1."

Misbah, the newest entity in the top-ranked T20I side in the world, is naturally having to field questions on the turnaround: how can the top-ranked T20I side lose to the seventh-ranked side that's missing ten of its first-choice players?

"I haven't done anything in the last 10 days that could have deterred anything," Misbah explained. "If you want to put responsibility on me you can but, in this brief time since I took charge, how big a difference could I have created with my coaching. The strategy was simple: to cash in on the Powerplay and later go all out in the last five overs. These are the same players who took Pakistan on top [in the T20I rankings] but in this series they were not able to execute things well with the bat, ball and while fielding."

Could the defeat have something to do with the pitches in Pakistan? They are similar to the UAE but not exactly the same. Babar Azam, the player around whom Pakistan's last two years of T20I dominance is built, was short of runs and that hurt Pakistan the most. In the third T20I in Karachi, Babar got 27 off 32, his wicket leading to a collapse. Haris Sohail scored 52 but at a strike rate of only 104 in a run-chase climbing with regards to the required run rate with every dot ball.

"It's not that they (the top-order batsmen) were being selfish, they were unable to adapt to the slowness of the pitch," Misbah said. "They were trying to hit but weren't able to which led to more dot balls and frustration. Babar wasn't able to time the ball in all three innings.

"It's unfair to say that both (Babar and Harris) were playing for themselves. Their position in the team is not uncertain and nobody is challenging their positions at the moment. It was Sri Lanka's good bowling which never allowed our batsmen to adapt properly. A big factor has been the impact of their wristspinner (Wanindu Hasaranga). We didn't pick his googly whereas they played our spinner nicely and batted well."