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  1. #1
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    "There is an amazing mind-set among these bowlers" : Azhar Mahmood

    In his latest blog for PakPassion.net. the Pakistan bowling coach and former all-rounder Azhar Mahmood analyses Pakistan's disappointing loss to Sri Lanka in the Test series, the continued impressive performance of Pakistan's LOI bowling attack, the promising talent of Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Hafeez's bowling action, Usman Khan Shinwari's injury and the feeling of joy at watching international cricket return to Pakistan.




    Disappointed at our loss in the Test series against Sri Lanka

    Obviously, we were thoroughly disappointed by the loss of both Tests in the home series against Sri Lanka, but the fact of the matter is that we did not bowl well in both innings of the Tests. Again, this is not an attempt to look for excuses, but the guys were playing Tests after a long time as our last game had been in May of this year and that rustiness showed up against Sri Lanka.


    Selection of Test bowling attack about choosing the best options

    There has been some criticism of our decision to play one specialist spinner for the Test series, but in my view, this was the right decision. If you cast your mind back to the tour of the West Indies, we also played there with Yasir Shah in our team and that too on pitches which were very flat. On such surfaces our 3 seamers bowled really well and helped us win games. In the UAE, we did have two excellent spinners in the shape of Bilal Asif and Mohammad Asghar, but they were inexperienced which is why we did not pick them for the two games. Unfortunately, when I mentioned this to the media at that time, it was misconstrued to mean that both spinners were not good enough for this level of the game which was totally incorrect. On top of that, the pitch for the first Test in Abu Dhabi had a lot of grass on it, with the plan being to allow very little for the opposition spinners to work with. That type of pitch also suited our excellent pace attack. Where we actually lost the game was due to our batting which was really not up to the mark as we were unable to chase 136 in the final innings. I suppose the absence of the players of the calibre of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan was felt in this series but hopefully this will not be the case in the future.


    Patience needed with the Test team

    It is great news for Pakistan that the LOI teams that were finding it hard to win games and were being beaten by just about any team are now doing so well as we have seen from recent results. In contrast, the Test team which went to the top of the ICC rankings is now facing issues. Like I mentioned before, the departure of Misbah and Younis has had a negative effect on our middle-order and on top of that, some of our promising and senior players like Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq did not perform that well either. At this point, I would urge all of us to be patient with the youngsters as they try and establish themselves in Tests, as it takes a little time for them to find their feet in this format.


    Wicket-taking approach of the Pakistan LOI bowling attack

    It’s not rocket-science to realize that in the modern-day LOI game, where boundaries are small, and bats are big, it is absolute madness to think that you can simply contain a top-quality opposition team by drying out runs. The only real way to stop runs from being scored against you is by taking wickets. In this regard, we are very blessed that we have a bunch of guys who are wicket-takers and are able to effectively execute the plans given to them and deliver on the field. There is an amazing mind-set among these bowlers that they need to get the batsmen out and not just worry about containing them, which is very important for the team as a whole. With this bowling line-up we are confident of taking wickets at every stage of the game regardless of how well the opposition is doing at that time. The proof of our recent progress is in the fact that in the last 9 ODI games, the most any team has scored against us is 236 which is a great sign for Pakistan cricket. On top of that, our bench-strength is improving rapidly with each back-up player who is called up performing really well when given the chance.


    Pakistan fast-bowling is making excellent progress

    Having the amount of talent we have at our disposal has many benefits, apart from the obvious one of allowing us to beat top-class teams. It is because of that reason that we have been able to devote time to the likes of upcoming players like Faheem Ashraf and Usman Khan Shinwari to help them work on their bowling in the nets. The results of that work were visible as both Faheem’s and Shinwari’s line and length improved a lot during the T20Is recently. All our bowlers have the right skills but what I am teaching them is to know which skill to use against what type of batsman.

    I also believe that we, as a bowling unit, are assessing the wickets much better than before. So basically, we have a better idea of what line to bowl and what variations to use on what type of wickets. What you see now is us bowling good yorkers with some excellent variations to back that up with. If we look at the example of Hasan Ali, you will see that he is bowling that special delivery with the ‘back of the hand’ with much more effectiveness after we worked on that type of ball. Similarly, Shinwari has improved his slower ball delivery and Mohammad Amir has also developed a newer slow ball as well. Of course, it is difficult to please all our fans, but I am sure they will also agree that we are making good and positive progress as far as our bowlers are concerned. I said this six months ago that we could change our fortunes with hard work and with God’s grace, we have done it and we are very proud of what we have achieved.


    Faheem Ashraf is destined for greatness if he continues working hard

    What a player Faheem has proved to be. When I first saw him in the emerging players camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best. He is a fantastic talent who has skills and has the desire to improve and work hard. I feel that cricket is all about confidence, and if given that confidence, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder. I know that a lot of people complain about the lack of good all-rounders of the type of Abdul Razzaq or even myself but if the manner in which Faheem is progressing, people will soon forget about the past. Faheem is hard-working and gets his head down to the task and that is what he needs to continue doing in the future. He will always have our backing and encouragement and that message was conveyed to him and the results of that backing are there for all to see. His hat-trick in the 2nd T20I and the 2 sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills which can only be good for Pakistan cricket.


    Usman Khan Shinwari’s unfortunate injury

    The news of Shinwari’s injury that could potentially keep him out of cricket for a good few months has shocked us all. Before he came into the team this time, he had already suffered a similar injury before as well. Injuries to fast-bowlers are common occurrences and should not really be a surprise to anyone. Fast-bowlers from Australia and England also get injured, so this is not a Pakistani phenomenon as some people may think. Yes, we need to protect him from injuries as he is a future star for Pakistan, so we have tried to work hard on his fitness and ensure that the action does not put too much pressure on him. But preventing injuries is not an exact science and it is difficult as the stresses are different when practicing in the nets and when bowling in match situations.

    What is strange about Shinwari’s injury is that a left-armer usually gets a front-side injury on the left of his body but this injury is the other way around. We will have to see how we can address this problem for him in the future. My intention is take our fast-bowlers to a bio-mechanics expert and analyse which muscles are getting what sort of load due to the bowler’s action. This way we can establish how to avoid injuries and get strength in the weaker areas of our fast-bowlers. Fast-bowling is a not an easy job as it requires repeating a strenuous exercise over and over again. You may see a bowler bowl a few overs in a match but what we don’t realize is that these bowlers bowl many overs in the nets almost every single day which is a tough ask for the human body.


    Mohammad Hafeez bowling action looks similar to before

    From the videos we have recorded of Hafeez’s bowling action and from what our analyst can ascertain, his action looks very similar to before and there is no discernible change in his action. The final decision on his action, obviously, rests with the ICC and that will become clear when the result of his test are revealed soon. We wanted to check the action in detail when he was in Lahore at the LUMS biomechanics laboratory, but we ran out of time to do that. In the future, I intend to use this facility a little more to monitor our bowlers to prevent injuries and also to keep an eye on actions, so such issues can be avoided.


    Mohammad Amir’s workload

    There have been some discussions regarding Mohammad Amir’s work-load and his subsequent injury problems. Unfortunately, in today’s cricket, apart from the stress on the body brought on by the games they play, players are also faced with pressure on their body due to travelling and lack of rest. Add to that the severe heat which we experienced in the UAE in the recent series - possibly the worst weather I have ever been exposed to, and you can understand the problems of fitness that can arise in such circumstances.


    Being part of the Pakistan team playing in Lahore was something special

    It’s difficult to explain the joy we all experienced when we played in Lahore recently. We all want international cricket to return to Pakistan and being part of the Pakistan team playing in Lahore was something special. We had full houses and the atmosphere in the games against the World XI and Sri Lanka was brilliant. For the audiences, the opportunity to watch their team play at their home ground must have been great, in fact for the youngsters to see their heroes perform in front of their eyes must have been an inspirational and a memorable experience. Of course, for the younger players in the squad, it must have been great to have felt what it means to play in front of home crowds and also to feel the adulation of their own people which will hold them in good stead in the future.


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  2. #2
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    Great interview.

    Azhar Mehmood has been fantastic. Hope we can achieve more success in the future InshaAllah.

  3. #3
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    If you're not going to let Asghar and Asif gain experience against a poor SL side at home then when else will they get their chance? Rubbish excuse. Disappointed that he is not owning up to the fact that it was a mistake to go in with only one spinner.

    Other than that good comments.

  4. #4
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    Good stuff so far, Azhar.

    When are we gonna see Hasan open? I know the team needs him to do damage in the middle but we're limiting a world class bowler who's equally as skilled with the new ball. Shoaib said the same thing that he needs to start opening if he's going to become a complete bowler. There's only so much you can do with the older ball and it's unfair to him that inferior bowlers are opening ahead of him. His new ball skills will become rusty if stays a middle overs specialist.
    Last edited by Chief Destroyer; 6th November 2017 at 22:29.


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  5. #5
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    Yes good job with seamers. Anyone know his thoughts on Aamer Yamin? Have not seen much of him myself.

  6. #6
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    Would also like to know why Mohammad Nawaz wasn't in the test team, if Asghar and Asif were too inexperienced.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Destroyer View Post
    Good stuff so far, Azhar.

    When are we gonna see Hasan open? I know the team needs him to do damage in the middle but we're limiting a world class bowler who's equally as skilled with the new ball. Shoaib said the same thing that he needs to start opening if he's going to become a complete bowler. There's only so much you can do with the older ball and it's unfair to him that inferior bowlers are opening ahead of him. His new ball skills will become rusty if stays a middle overs specialist.
    I disagree with this approach, Pakistan bowling magic is Hasan and Shahab in middle overs, they take wickets in middle over, break partnership. If Fahim/Raees/Junaid bowl in middle overs, there will be less chance of wickets and hence match will be setup for big score...bowling both your premium bowlers in first 10 is a mistake, one has to bowl later.

    Pakistan won many matches in early 90s when Aqib and Wasim open and Waqar bowled in middle overs... Even in last WC2015, Wahab and Rahat bowling in middle overs was key to success, since both were wicket taking (tall bowlers) for those conditions.

    Even for AUS, imagine Strac bowls all his 10 overs from 20-50, Hazelwood and Cumin’s can easily control first 10, no need of wasting Strac in first 10. You need to attack when batsmen are trying to build partnership against second tier bowlers.

    If Hasan has to go up, Amir has to come down, you cannot waste tier 1 bowlers in power play, remember in 2003 WC match against AUS, they were 85/5, after than Afridi and Razaq together were too easy and let the partnership build, they end up scoring 311, that would not have happened if we attacked throughout the 50 overs.

    Success of AUS was because of Warner attacking in middle overs...If Pakistan wants to win consistently with bowling, attacking in middle over is key, you cannot downgrade attack by throwing everything in first 10-15 overs.
    Last edited by yasir; 7th November 2017 at 01:27.

  8. #8
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    ^ I still believe Pakistan would have done much better in 2003 WC, if Shoiab bowled all his over after 15, Wasim and Waqar could swing the new ball, with all their experience, the way we did in 2002 super series...Shoiab would have been much more lethel with older ball and outside power play, controlling in game in the middle over is key to success in ODIs, you need your gun bowlers at that time...


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  9. #9
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    There is lot to be like about Azhar's approach and style...He has played modern game of Cricket, all over the world, that is an immense asset. He was also not super talented like Wasim and Waqar, that means, he did not had a big ego and also learned himself by hardwork, that's why he is more successful...

    I also like his approach, its modern, focus on technology, technique and fitness. Again his experience with English counties and other T20 leagues come very handy...

    What I like the most, during his era, every fast bowler is bowling very good channel, their line and lengths are attacking, regardless of the bowler(even Fahim is bowling very tight channel). They don't give much room to cut and pull, batsmen have to take risk to score...And in death we have seen so many yorkers, that we have never seen in entire Misbah/Waqar era, which was very refreshing, we are starting to believe in our core strength as a cricketing culture, yorker was our main thing, some how we lost it completely in 7/8 years...I want to see this trend continue in NZ series, its the process that is important, win will come automatically....


    If you want to do things that are certain to succeed, you are doing very obvious thing - E Musk

  10. #10
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    Mark my words - Azhar Mahmmod is headed towards stardom of his own if he continues improving our pace attack in this fashion.


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  11. #11
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    Very good explanations by Azhar except for the fact about spinners being inexperienced. If they are not going to be given a chance , then how do you expect them to gain experience. For Asghar, that might hold true as he's just 19, but Bilal Asif is already 31 or 32. When Shadab was picked for 2nd Test against WI, mickey said, he's good enough even without experience. This contradicts it a bit.

  12. #12
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    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1552198...azhar-mahmood/

    Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood believes Faheem Ashraf has the ability to overshadow him and Abdul Razzaq.

    Mahmood, in his write-up for PakPassion, explained why Faheem can go on to become better than the two greats.

    “What a player Faheem has proved to be,” exclaimed Mahmood. “When I first saw him in the emerging players camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best. He is a fantastic talent who has the skills and the desire to improve and work hard. I feel that cricket is all about confidence, and if given that confidence, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder.”

    Mahmood continued by saying that the 23-year-old is being backed by everyone so he can gain more confidence and develop his skills further.

    “I know that a lot of people complain about the lack of good all-rounders, but considering the manner in which Faheem is progressing, people will soon forget about the past,” said Mahmood. “Faheem is hard working and he needs to continue doing so in the future as well. He will always have our backing and encouragement and the results of that backing are there for all to see.”

    The 42-year-old then pointed towards Faheem’s heroics. “His hat-trick in the second T20I and the two sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills, which can only be good for Pakistan cricket.”

    On Hafeez’s bowling action

    Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s action was reported for a third time in three years and underwent a biomechanical test at Loughborough on October 1.

    Hafeez hoping for good results after bowling action test

    “From the videos we have recorded of Hafeez’s bowling action, and from what our analyst can ascertain, his action looks very similar to before and there is no discernible change in his action,” said Mahmood. “The final decision on his action, obviously, rests with the International Cricket Council and that will become clear when the results come out.”

    The bowling coach added that he wants to use Lahore University of Management Sciences’ biomechanics laboratory to avoid future problems. “In the future, I intend to use this facility a little more to monitor our bowlers, to prevent injuries and also to keep an eye on actions, so such issues can be avoided.”

    On Amir’s work-load

    Pakistan right-arm pacer Mohammad Amir was ruled out of the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Cricket Board was criticised for not managing his work-load, but Mahmood thinks otherwise.

    ‘Amir’s workload needs to managed’

    “There have been some discussions regarding Mohammad Amir’s work-load and his subsequent injury problems. Unfortunately, in today’s cricket, apart from the stress on the body brought on by the games they play, players are suffer due to travelling and a lack of rest,” he explained. “Add to that the severe heat which we experienced in the UAE in the recent series, possibly the worst weather I have ever been exposed to, and you can understand the problems of fitness that can arise in such circumstances.”


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  13. #13
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    i hope he find a way for shinwari to prevent such injuries in future and hope shinwari come back with a bang.

  14. #14
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    Some interesting comments, from an underappreciated bowling coach.

    Would have been interested to hear what he thinks Amir needs to do to have more success in tests.

  15. #15
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    Pakistan’s current bowling coach and former all-rounder, Azhar Mahmood is highly impressed by the emerging cricketer, Faheem Ashraf.

    Mahmood believes that if he continues his hard work, he will soon fill the vacuum created by Abdur Razzaq’s absence in the team.

    “Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder. I know that a lot of people complain about the lack of good all-rounders of the type of Abdul Razzaq or even myself but if the manner in which Faheem is progressing, people will soon forget about the past,” he wrote for PakPassion.

    Azhar Mahmood identified his potential when he saw the youngster in the emerging players’ camp and he knew that the kid has the potential to be an amazing cricketer.

    “When I first saw him in the emerging players’ camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best,” he wrote.

    Moreover, the 42-year old is impressed with Faheem’s urge of learning and improving his skillsets, for which he works extremely hard.

    “He is a fantastic talent who has skills and has the desire to improve and work hard. I feel that cricket is all about confidence, and if given that confidence, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder,” he said.

    “Faheem is hard-working and gets his head down to the task and that is what he needs to continue doing in the future,” he added.

    Mahmood mentioned that the management will always support the 23-year old, his performance during the recently concluded T20i series against Sri Lanka is a proof of his talent.

    “He will always have our backing and encouragement and that message was conveyed to him and the results of that backing are there for all to see. His hat-trick in the 2nd T20I and the 2 sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills which can only be good for Pakistan cricket,” he further wrote.

    https://arysports.tv/faheem-ashraf-fill-gap-razzaq/


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak36 View Post
    Some interesting comments, from an underappreciated bowling coach.

    Would have been interested to hear what he thinks Amir needs to do to have more success in tests.
    Yes. On the agenda for the next blog.



  17. #17
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    When someone states the facts which we don't like, we say its an excuse! Azhar Mahmood is man connected to our team so when he says that the spinners were not picked because of their inexperience, we need to believe that. I can assure you he is not making it up!

    Very lucky for Pakistan to have found a pace coach who has strong connections with the country and is not there for the ride.


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  18. #18
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    LAHORE: Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood believes that Faheem Ashraf has the ability to overshadow him and Abdul Razzaq.

    “[Faheem] is a fantastic talent who has the skills and the desire to improve and work hard, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder,” Azhar added.

    In an interview to PakPassion, Azhar said, “What a player Faheem has proved to be. When I first saw him in the emerging players camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best.”

    He said that, Faheem is being backed by everyone so he can gain more confidence and develop his skills further, while admitted that Pakistan lack good all-rounders.

    “Faheem is hard working and he needs to continue doing so in the future as well, he will always have our backing and encouragement and the results of that backing are there for all to see,” the Pakistani bowling coach added.

    Talking about Faheem’s heroics, he said, “His hat-trick in the second T20I and the two sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills, which can only be good for Pakistan cricket.”

    https://www.newsone.tv/sports/pakist...-azhar-mahmood

  19. #19
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    Nice job Azhar Mahmood (and thanks to PP team for the interview)!

    Our limited side is hungry and they can win WC'19 InshaAllah.

  20. #20
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    LONDON - Pakistan’s bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has praised his side for their incredible performance, while he also was all praise for his bowlers . He said that the side was blessed to have a young bunch of talented and capable bowlers , who can deliver on the field, especially by taking wickets regularly.

    “It’s not rocket-science to realise that in the modern-day game, where boundaries are small, and bats are big, it is absolute madness to think that you can simply contain a top-quality opposition team by drying out runs. The only real way to stop runs from being scored against you is by taking wickets. In this regard, we are very blessed that we have a bunch of guys who are wicket-takers and are able to effectively execute the plans given to them and deliver on the field. There is an amazing mind-set among these bowlers that they need to get the batsmen out and not just worry about containing them, which is very important for the team as a whole,” wrote Mahmood, in an article on Pak Passion website.

    “With this bowling line-up we are confident of taking wickets at every stage of the game regardless of how well the opposition is doing at that time. The proof of our recent progress is in the fact that in the last 9 ODI games, the most any team has scored against us is 236 which is a great sign for Pakistan cricket. On top of that, our bench-strength is improving rapidly with each back-up player who is called up performing really well when given the chance.”

    Mahmood also believes Faheem Ashraf has the ability to overshadow him and Abdul Razzaq.

    Mahmood, in his write-up for PakPassion, explained why Faheem can go on to become better than the two greats.

    “What a player Faheem has proved to be,” exclaimed Mahmood. “When I first saw him in the emerging players camp, I knew that this guy had the potential to be the very best. He is a fantastic talent who has the skills and the desire to improve and work hard. I feel that cricket is all about confidence, and if given that confidence, Faheem has the potential to become an excellent all-rounder.”

    Mahmood continued by saying that the 23-year-old is being backed by everyone so he can gain more confidence and develop his skills further.

    “I know that a lot of people complain about the lack of good all-rounders, but considering the manner in which Faheem is progressing, people will soon forget about the past,” said Mahmood. “Faheem is hard working and he needs to continue doing so in the future as well. He will always have our backing and encouragement and the results of that backing are there for all to see.”

    The 42-year-old then pointed towards Faheem’s heroics. “His hat-trick in the second T20I and the two sixes he hit in the last over of the final T20I against Sri Lanka are all examples of his skills, which can only be good for Pakistan cricket.”

    Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez’s action was reported for a third time in three years and underwent a biomechanical test at Loughborough on October 1.
    Hafeez hoping for good results after bowling action test.

    “From the videos we have recorded of Hafeez’s bowling action, and from what our analyst can ascertain, his action looks very similar to before and there is no discernible change in his action,” said Mahmood. “The final decision on his action, obviously, rests with the International Cricket Council and that will become clear when the results come out.”

    The bowling coach added that he wants to use Lahore University of Management Sciences’ biomechanics laboratory to avoid future problems. “In the future, I intend to use this facility a little more to monitor our
    bowlers , to prevent injuries and also to keep an eye on actions, so such issues can be avoided.”

    Pakistan leftt-arm pacer Aamir was ruled out of the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Cricket Board was criticised for not managing his work-load, but Mahmood thinks otherwise.

    “There have been some discussions regarding Mohammad Amir’s work-load and his subsequent injury problems. Unfortunately, in today’s cricket, apart from the stress on the body brought on by the games they play, players are suffer due to travelling and a lack of rest,” he explained. “Add to that the severe heat which we experienced in the UAE in the recent series, possibly the worst weather I have ever been exposed to, and you can understand the problems of fitness that can arise in such circumstances.”
    Last edited by MenInG; 8th November 2017 at 14:26.


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    When someone states the facts which we don't like, we say its an excuse! Azhar Mahmood is man connected to our team so when he says that the spinners were not picked because of their inexperience, we need to believe that. I can assure you he is not making it up!

    Very lucky for Pakistan to have found a pace coach who has strong connections with the country and is not there for the ride.
    I don't think posters were doubting the management's reasons for not selecting a second spinner, but rather questioning the logic behind the decision.

    After all, how do you get experience?

  22. #22
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    Sure they do, aside from Amir.


    You gotta work until your idols become your rivals.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    When someone states the facts which we don't like, we say its an excuse! Azhar Mahmood is man connected to our team so when he says that the spinners were not picked because of their inexperience, we need to believe that. I can assure you he is not making it up!

    Very lucky for Pakistan to have found a pace coach who has strong connections with the country and is not there for the ride.
    O Bhai how are they going to gain experience if you're not giving them a chance against a rubbish Sri Lankan team in spin friendly conditions? Asghar has been carried around with the squad for so long and is yet to be given a go. If he carries on being handled like that he'll never gain any experience lol

  24. #24
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    Good relations between the coaching staff and players definitely help and aid improvement.



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