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Exclusive Interviews

 

Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail provides his insight and opinions on the ongoing debate surrounding the appointment of next Head Coach for the Pakistan cricket team.

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By Saj Sadiq ( 24th December, 2011)

Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail provides his insight and opinions on the ongoing debate surrounding the appointment of next Head Coach for the Pakistan cricket team.


Mohsin Khan

When Mohsin Khan was appointed as coach of the Pakistan team, the Pakistani batting was struggling. There was a lot of talk about the batsmen struggling. Now if you look at it, there has been some stability and the batsmen have responded to Mohsin. 

The bowlers have also done a good job and overall the players have responded to Mohsin. Everything is going fine and he's the option as coach and he's done a good job.

If Mohsin Khan is doing a good job and the players are responding to him, then why on earth do you want to look any further than Mohsin?


Support Staff

What I would do is to give Mohsin the right support staff who he is comfortable with and who he can delegate the various tasks to and work together as a team.

Regarding the support staff for Mohsin Khan, what should be looked at are the local coaches who have done well. Sabih Azhar from Rawalpindi has emerged as a very good coach, Naveed Anjum has done very well in the past and has worked particularly effectively with young players over the years, so why can't the aforementioned be looked at as support coaches for Mohsin Khan. 

Also there are the likes of Jalaluddin, Manzoor Elahi and Azam Khan from Karachi. You have to look at the home grown coaches, you have to promote the local coaches and build the capacity of these guys who have done so well in Pakistan and on behalf of Pakistan cricket. Let's build on what these home grown coaches have achieved, let's build on their capacity and further educate them on international requirements. Let's interview these coaches and ask them what their plans are, ask them about their ideas. Say to them that these are the ten or so bowlers that we are going to persist with in the future, what are you going to do with them for them to be able to get the top players like Sachin Tendulkar out and to enable these bowlers to take 20 wickets in test matches and to regularly take wickets in one day internationals and twenty20 internationals. Ask them in an interview where they feel that these bowlers are lacking and how they would bring about changes to enhance those bowlers' performances. 


Research and Development Wing

Pakistan cricket needs a Research and Development wing in their cricket board which is missing. The coach education program should be rigorously applied in Pakistan and enhance the ability of Pakistani coaches so they can interact well with players and who knows maybe in 4 or 5 years time we'll see Pakistani coaches working around the world. 


Past Experiences with a Foreign Coach

When Pakistan cricket needed a foreign coach, I was the one who instigated it in 1996. There was a "thinking behind" why a foreign coach was needed at that time. Arif Ali Abbassi who was the Chief Executive at that time and I sat down together as I was captaining Pakistan at that time. 

We had a series of meetings and discussed everything at length and we felt that the Pakistani team lacked a "father figure". Most of the guys playing for Pakistan at that time were classed as "superstars" and around the same age group. Competition was there, but it was the wrong type of competition, it was amongst one another rather than the opposition. 

Abbassi and I decided that the father figure was needed particularly after Javed Miandad had been replaced as captain in 1993. Javed had been the father figure in the team and had been replaced by Wasim Akram who was a novice. So when Javed Miandad was removed as captain, there were so many controversies happening in Pakistan cricket, so many things going on so we needed the father figure and we decided upon Ian Chappell and wanted him to become the coach. 

Chappell agreed on an interim basis to work with us as an advisor ahead of every series. However Arif Abbassi was replaced by Majid Khan and Khan cancelled Chappell's contract. Pakistani coaches were brought in and after that we had some serious problems in Pakistan cricket.

Once again I was the one who introduced Richard Pybus into Pakistan cricket and he was made the coach. I was really impressed by his cricketing intelligence. The reason for bringing Pybus in was due to the fact that Pakistani cricketers were heavily reliant upon their talent and we wanted to bring science into our cricket. Unfortunately the objectives that we had in mind were not met.

We have tried and tested foreign coaches previously and I think it's about time we should start banking on our own resources and build their own capacity. Around the world you will see so many teams with Australian coaches at the helm, but that does not guarantee success. Look at Bangladesh, have they improved - no they have not. Look at Sri Lanka, they are stagnant after Muralitharan's retirement. 


Chairman of PCB and the Interim Option

The added complexity regarding the appointment of the next coach is because the current Chairman is new to the role and is still finding his feet with regards to the people he is working with. Mr Ashraf is learning on the job and therefore that is why he is favouring the option of an interim coach. It buys him some time to further work his way around the complexities of his role as Chairman and also it gives him some time to analyse his colleagues.

I'm not in favour of the interim option at all, but the fact that Pakistan are going to be playing against England in conditions that will favour the home team, it gives them a little bit more leeway, but I'm not backing the Interim option at all . The Chairman has a little bit of scope to experiment only because it's a home series and due to the conditions.


Dav Whatmore

I keep hearing this and that about Dav Whatmore and in my opinion it's a case of some people within Pakistan cricket wanting to just accommodate him and showing the world that they are the decision makers. Sadly their decision making is flawed.

I'm a big fan of Dav Whatmore and he did some great things for Sri Lankan cricket but after Sri Lanka if you look at his performances you start to wonder about what innovations is he going to bring to Pakistan cricket? 

If you recall the late Bob Woolmer, he did a great job with South Africa but he could not break that barrier that South African cricket always struggled with. He was brought to the Pakistani set up and he could not deliver. Pakistan were embarrassed with Woolmer in charge at the 2007 World Cup. 

You have to determine that Whatmore and Woolmer were successful with Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively because there were "certain attributes" that those cricket teams had and you have to wonder whether the Pakistani team actually has those attributes. 

Whatmore has been given opportunities elsewhere after Sri Lanka but he has not substantiated those particular attributes about him.

I'd like the decision makers at the PCB to sit down with Whatmore before offering him a deal and ask him, here's the team, give us a pool of players, tell us what you know about the players you are going to be working with. 

What are the pool of 30 players you have in mind, your thoughts on the opposition, the plans for the next World Cup. These are all important discussions that need to be held before any job offer should be made to anyone. If these discussions have not been held then how can you place Whatmore in such an important role.

There is no way you can place Dav Whatmore as your coach of the Pakistani team if ALL of these discussions are not going to be held and he is just being offered the role.