As expected, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed Waqar Younis as the head coach for Pakistan cricket team for two years. He has previously served as the bowling coach of Pakistan, in 2006-07 and briefly in 2009, and as the head coach in 2010-11.
Waqar’s first assignment will be Pakistan’s tour to Sri Lanka in July-August for two Tests and three One-day Internationals. Pakistan will then host Australia and New Zealand in the UAE later this year.
“My immediate aim would be to prepare the team for the upcoming busy cricket season, including the next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” said Waqar in an interview after his appointment.
The former Pakistan skipper added that he had advised the PCB about support staff, in which he would like to have people from within the country as well as foreigners. “I do not have any problem with any player; therefore, I want to start my new tenure with clear heart,” he said.
The appointment of Waqar is a good move for Pakistan cricket as he has vast experience of international cricket. Under his training Pakistani fast bowlers Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Talha can improve their skills and become a lethal pace attack.
Improving the skills of the fast bowlers is a good move for the future, but what surprises many cricket lovers is that the problem that demands immediate attention is the unreliability of the batting line, but the authorities are only directing their efforts at finding bowlers.
Most of Pakistan’s defeats occur because of the failures of the batsmen. There have been numerous calls for the appointment of a batting coach but so far the PCB has not done anything worthwhile in this respect.
The PCB must give priority to the batting side and provide opportunities to young talented players from the domestic circuit and also initiate a talent-hunt scheme to overcome the batting woes under an experienced batting coach who can remove batsmen’s weaknesses.
After their humiliating first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup, India appointed former South Africa Test opener Gary Kirsten as chief coach. Within a short span of four years, India became so strong that they won the World Cup in 2011.
But the Pakistani players don’t have the luxury of training under such a great batsman as Kirsten. Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin and Umar Akmal are all talented players, but due to lack of proper guidance they are inconsistent and are prone to throwing away their wickets in crunch situations.
Pakistan’s batsmen score 20, 30 runs easily but when they are set and can play big innings throw their wickets with stupid shots.
A good coach can guide them to play sensibly and according to the situation. A good cricket coach is one who is good at team management and team strategy. He should know the weaknesses of his own players and the opponent teams apart from having multiple contingency plans.
He should motivate players to give optimum performances consistently. He should be a good thinker of the game and should be able to communicate effectively what he wants from the boys on the field. He should be able to handle the pressures of this high-profile job.
According to some reports, the PCB was interested in hiring Pakistan’s most capped player Inzamam-ul-Haq as the batting coach, but he didn’t show interest due to his business and religious engagements. Thereafter as per media report PCB interested to hire former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower for the post of Pakistan batting coach.
Former Zimbabwean batsman Grant Flower, having worked with other international teams, is one of the few foreigners to have applied for Pakistan’s coaching positions.
The PCB must hire the best candidate for the batting coach position and give him enough time to improve Pakistani batsmen’s skills.