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  1. #1
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    "T20 tournaments are having a huge, detrimental effect on quality of our batsmen" : Mudassar Nazar

    In his third stint at the Pakistan Cricket Board, former Pakistan batsman Mudassar Nazar is currently playing an important role in the development of future cricketers as the Director of Academies at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Mudassar spoke in detail about his priorities at the PCB, the worrying lack of young good quality batsmen coming through the Under-16 and Under-19 levels in Pakistan, the detrimental effect of Twenty20 cricket on the quality of batting in Pakistan, the deficiencies with the current domestic structure and the steady and encouraging supply of good fast-bowling resources coming through the Under-19 system.





    PakPassion.net: How is your current role as Director Academies at the PCB going so far?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    Itís been fine and something which is similar to what I have done before at the PCB. The slight difference this time is that I have started a new pathway for bringing talent to Pakistan cricket which is focusing on the Under-13 level. In my previous stint with the PCB as Head Coach of NCA in 2001, I had started the Under-16s program and of course we already had the Under-19s well established at that point. So now with me back at the PCB, the Under-13 and Under-16 programs are well established and doing well, nationwide. The success of the Under-16 program can be judged by the fact that we have 9 players in the national squad who were part of this program in 2008 which for me is quite satisfying. What this shows to me is that the various pathways are working and doing their job. To be honest, these programs should have been in better shape had they not been more or less stopped when I left the NCA for my role at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai in 2009. To me what the success of these programs does show is that if you stick with your plans and give the boys the resources and the right environment to grow, then they will come through and serve the nation in the future.


    PakPassion.net: How do you see your priorities in your current role at the PCB?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    My first priority has been to kick-start the Under-16 program. This was really the third time this has happened, and it seems that whenever I leave Pakistan, these programs are stopped which to me is a serious concern. Looking back, the first couple of times that I left and came back, it was easy to restart these pathways as I was away for shorter periods of time. However, it was much tougher to get these pathways working back on track after a period of 8 years which happened when I started my third stint at the PCB in 2016. The process to get things moving again took its time and had a toll on our cricket as well, but hopefully we will get there.


    PakPassion.net: What do you say to those who state that the standard of young batsmen in Pakistan is a concern?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    I would say that they are right and that is a big concern for all of us. I have scouted and scoured the country, gone to wherever cricket is played in Pakistan and it's almost impossible to find top-quality batsmen in the country who are coming through the system. We are totally without good batsmen at the Under-19s level and sadly, this issue goes all the way down to the Under-16s level as well. But there is a ray of hope as the Under-15s and Under-13s arenít too bad and one hopes that in a few yearsí time we will be able to produce quality batsmen. But at the moment, there is a huge issue with our batting resources within our First-Class and Under-19 levels and the age groups between.

    The PCB, to their credit, has been successful in one thing which is that they have arranged two big tours for the A team in the UAE against New Zealand A and England Lions. And suddenly, we have a few good players come to the fore like Abid Ali who got some good runs. I saw him bat and get runs against England Lionsí Mark Wood who can bowl with a lot of pace. He looked very comfortable against that sort of pace so that is great news for Pakistan. We also have some good fast bowlers coming up like Shaheen Shah Afridi and one or two other younger bowlers who are doing well in Pakistan. So, it will take a little time but slowly the talent will come through.


    PakPassion.net: You mentioned a few names of upcoming players but why arenít more new names coming through like other nations?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    It's very difficult to single out good players like that who are in the Under-19 setup but the unfortunate fact is that they have to struggle a lot at that level. In the past few years, there hasnít been that much exposure for our younger players at the Under-19 or the A team level in Pakistan. If you compare the setup with say, England, you will see that the England Lions go pretty much everywhere their senior team goes as well. In fact, they go to places where the seniors will tour a year ahead so that they are well in tune with the demands of what the next tour will bring and they have one or two players who come through to the senior team before that tour happens.

    Whereas in Pakistan in the last 8 or 9 years, the tours have pretty much stopped. The cycle of bringing in new players has therefore stopped or been disrupted and is very difficult to restart. But I feel we are now making progress and these two A tours to the UAE have been very beneficial for our younger players.


    PakPassion.net: Is it a concern that many of the players being picked for Pakistan A are players who have failed for the national team and lesser number of newer players are getting chances?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    I think the A team has a place for both experienced players as well as newer ones. From the NCAís point of view, we would love to have players from Under-19 or just above in the A squad. But, when you have national selectors who are selecting the A team and the Under-23s, they obviously have an eye on the Pakistan team and are looking to fill the gaps in that team, potentially using A players. But they have an unenviable task because if they donít select good domestic performers they are criticised and get into trouble as well. This year they have been bringing in a lot of players into the A side who have been performing well in the last few years. Also remember that we are in the middle of the second of two A series this year and so the selectors are trying to blood a lot of players and give them chances to play and see how they perform away from the domestic circuit.

    I have heard many people say that our domestic cricket isnít testing enough so this is the selectors chance to blood-in so many different players. The other problem is that ideally, there should always be about 20 players in the A setup out of which 10-12 players, based upon their performances, have a chance to fill in the gaps in the senior team if needed. But that only works if you have had regular academy, Under-19 and A tours over a period of time. If you donít, then you will end up in a similar situation as us where we have so many different players to try out in a short span of time. Whilst I can understand where the selectors are coming from in this regard, I would have done it differently as my bias is for player development, so I would have preferred youth, but the selectors are looking for the finished article.


    PakPassion.net: What changes need to be made in domestic cricket to make it more robust?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    To start with, we all need to be honest about this issue or we will never find the best solution to this problem. If we were to look at the way our domestic cricket is run at the moment, you will note that there is a lot of politics as far as the regional associations and departments are concerned. We must also understand that it's not the departments that produce players, itís the regions who do this job, but it is also true that the pick of our talented players go to the departments.

    We have an odd situation where the departments donít do any player development of any sort, but they have the financial means to help the players. However, gone are the days when departments used to give permanent jobs to the players in institutions such as PIA or any of the banks. Also, nowadays, the pay structure isnít that great with the departments and you can see the effects of this by the fact that as soon as a player gets a chance to play a Twenty20 League in any part of the world, he leaves the department straight away.

    Coming to the state of the associations, the fact is that the office-bearers of these associations are duty-bound to select the players from the clubs who elected them in the first place which is such a mess. What now needs to happen is that all concerned need to sit together around a table and discuss and thrash out the issues at hand, and then come up with a consensus on how best to organise domestic cricket in Pakistan and to find a way forward. Itís not simply a debate about departments versus regions as many would have us believe but the end result is that due to the weakness of the current system, some of the deserving players simply donít make it to the top.


    PakPassion.net: In your playing days, were you a fan of any particular system of domestic cricket?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    I never liked playing for departments, and I would have been much happier playing for Lahore. I certainly hated my time with United Bank but I had to play for them for a very long time. There was always pressure to play all the games for them and they could manipulate the system as they had the money to play most of their games in the southern part of Pakistan like Karachi as there were spinning tracks there and we had good spinners. To be fair, I did like playing for PIA in the early part of my career as it did have a positive impact on my development as a player.


    PakPassion.net: Is there too much emphasis on domestic Twenty20 tournaments in Pakistan?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    The advent of Twenty20 tournaments is having a huge and detrimental effect on the quality of our batsmen. People who arenít close to the game, probably donít see this as an issue but I see it day in, day out. I feel that batting techniques have gone out of the window. What some of the batsmen do not realise is that in order to have a healthy Twenty20 or One-Day career, one needs to have their technique right. Your basics need to be right, otherwise you will have a very short career. Even in the Pakistan team we see that we are very good in Twenty20s but there have been times in Tests where our team has basically fallen by the wayside in terms of our batting. A lot of that is happening due to Twenty20 cricket.

    I can also tell you that a lot of interest in Twenty20 cricket is commercially driven and sometimes you have no choice but to give the shorter formats more importance. For example, when I was working for the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai, we had a huge number of players who wanted to play games. So, we used to provide them an opportunity to play the shorter format of the game so that everyone could get a game, and we also made money out of it too. Of course, this kept the game going but it also had a detrimental effect on playersí techniques. And this is also happening in Pakistan at the domestic level as we have many such leagues being organised at the association and district levels. To them, if they have organised a Twenty20 League where batsmen slog, they feel that they have done their job and achieved something. Parents of younger players are happy as they feel that the kids can end up in PSL, the Big Bash or any other Twenty20 league but in my view, such players are heading for short careers.


    PakPassion.net: What are your thoughts on young pace bowlers such as Naseem Shah, Arshad Iqbal, Mohammad Hasnain and Muhammad Musa Khan?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    All the names you have mentioned are fantastic and great additions to Pakistan cricket. We are very hopeful that they will all come through and have a bright future with the Pakistan team. As we have seen, Shaheen Shah Afridi has already made an impact and Musa Khan is also talked about a lot because he has gained exposure in the last two Under-19 tournaments at the international level. Unfortunately, Mohammad Hasnain got injured and had a setback, whilst Arshad Iqbal is an excellent prospect.

    To me, Naseem Shah is bowling quicker than all of these bowlers and he is still very young but even he had a setback due to injury, mainly because he was trying to bowl quicker than what his body was ready for. Hopefully, at the NCA we will nurse him through like we did in the case of Umar Gul and Mohammad Amir. So, in terms of fast-bowling we are covered really well as you will see in a matter of 2-3 yearsí time. The pleasing thing for me is that I have seen these guys develop from the time they were 16 when they were bowling around the 125-130 KpH mark and now they are touching speeds like 140-145 KpH. So, there is a gradual but definite progress there and I am very excited about their future prospects. I feel that they all bring different skill levels and talents to the mix and I am so glad that you mentioned these names, although I do wish we had similar things to say about new batsmen too, but unfortunately we don't.


    PakPassion.net: Are you concerned about the careers of players like Zeeshan Malik, Hasan Mohsin, Khushdil Shah, Saif Badar who have also not been picked for the PSL?

    Mudassar Nazar:
    Saif Badar was picked by Lahore Qalandars but unfortunately, they decided to not play him for reasons best known to them. However, he is starting to make a comeback and hopefully he will come through again. The other players you mentioned are a concern to me as they havenít made that much of an impact but I know that they are all working hard towards getting better. One thing that I realised when I was away from Pakistan cricket for 8 years was that the importance of Under-19 cricket has diminished greatly. In the past, our cricket was all about Under-19s cricket and that formed the basis for future Pakistan sides. Unfortunately, the people in charge during my time away made sure that Under-19 cricketers were left in the wilderness. The regional associations took them on, but the departments never got hold of them and they got lost in the system. In fact, I feel that there were about 20 players who got lost in this way. On top of that, we have over forty percent of players who are over 35 years of age who are still playing in first-class cricket which is preventing the younger players to come through the ranks. But all this needs to be looked at and I mince no words when I say that we do have a job at hand if we want to take this forward and secure a great future for Pakistan cricket.


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  2. #2
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    Excellent views. And something T20 enthusiasts should read and understand


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  3. #3
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    He is definitely a guy who knows his trade and is well respected for his time at the ICC Academy.

    But then, I heard he was also involved with LQ, if he is against T20 leagues, he should abstain from it.

    Coming on to his comments regarding if you're focusing on t20, it will hurt your Test career which is absolutely right. Only those guys who have the basics right and can adapt can go on to have successful careers in all formats like Kohli, Smith, Faf, KW, Stokes, Khawaja, De Kock, Markram(a work in progress) and some others.
    It's pretty clear that guys like Chris Lynn, Jason Roy, Russell, Lewis etc are bound to fail in Test cricket if given opportunity.

    But t20 leagues can have a good effect on players for ODI's though. The aggressive nature of t20s can help guys face unfamiliar and difficult situations and can help them develop new shots and stuff to keep at level with the world.

    One anomaly I can think of is Colin Munro, I think even with his uber aggressive batting style, he can still be successful in Test Cricket as he is a very careful watcher of the ball and has amazing hand eye coordination. It is also reflected by his FC stats with average of over 50.

  4. #4
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    Mudasser Nazar is one of the best things that have happened to Pak cricket. No wonder we were superior in youth ranks till 2008 something. Also Mickey trusts his judgement a lot (read Mickey's interview).

    We need people like him as director of cricket operations even though he has already made a huge difference at the NCA. Hope he stays at the PCB so that we keep improving our youth ranks and see more Shaheen's + Saud Shakeel's.


    "You aren't a failure if you fail, you are a failure if you don't get up to try again" - Imran Khan.

  5. #5
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    He has a very cool head and always speaks sense. Need him involved in cricket for a few more years.

  6. #6
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    I still don’t get why t20 is not impacting players in the bigger teams.
    I can however believe, that our perennially rubbish domestic batsmen have now even lesser incentive to sort out their technique.
    Even if you buy Mudassars argument at face value, there’s little that can be done to stem the tide. T20 and the opportunity to be fast tracked through it to lucrative leagues or the national team will far outweigh the need to foil away in 4 day cricket.

  7. #7
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    I hope, after such an interview, Mudassar can keep his job. Basically, he has opened an can of worm which we have discussed many times here in PP.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMHS View Post
    I hope, after such an interview, Mudassar can keep his job. Basically, he has opened an can of worm which we have discussed many times here in PP.
    He is a man who has been charged with developing good cricketers from the academies so its good we know what his aims are.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    He is a man who has been charged with developing good cricketers from the academies so its good we know what his aims are.
    I see that, he has noticed PAK A team selection isn't like what it should be, but probably that's out of his scope, hence he has been politically correct here; but don't think with this selection policy (of A team/emerging team), he can't do much development with U19 & U23 players.

  10. #10
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    I have a lot of respect and regards for Mudasir from my childhood days though have never seen him playing but have heard a lot about him from my father how Mudasir was a go to guy for Imran khan. Someone who made the maximum use of his talent (limited) to become one of our top cricketers in 80s and this is exactly the kind of people that we need in pCB's set up, players who were not god gifted but made it through with their grit and never say never attitude. This is what is missing in our younger lot, we seem to be producing a lot of softies nowadays, those we shy away from the contest once a bit of pressure is exerted on them. Our young players specially batsmen are all of defensive mindset, this needs to change and this can only change from the gross root level where we need people with positive mindset, those who know how to take bull by the horns and Mudasir indeed is one of them.


    When in Doubt- Act Stupid....... That's Pakistan Cricket for you.

  11. #11
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    A wonderful read, really enjoyed it.

    Mudassar Nazar is exactly what Pakistan cricket needs and him leaving his role at the PCB meant that a whole generation of cricketers were lost in the system.

    He has a great cricketing mind and is well-respected throughut the cricketing world.

    There are quite a few people out there who want to take credit for the development of players whilst the actual credit should go to people like Mudassar Nazar.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    A wonderful read, really enjoyed it.

    Mudassar Nazar is exactly what Pakistan cricket needs and him leaving his role at the PCB meant that a whole generation of cricketers were lost in the system.

    He has a great cricketing mind and is well-respected throughut the cricketing world.

    There are quite a few people out there who want to take credit for the development of players whilst the actual credit should go to people like Mudassar Nazar.
    The reason Mickey Arthur trusts Muddasser with all the upcoming players. Probably also why he fast tracked Shaheen Shah + Shadab into the national side (after Muddaser's recommendation).


    "You aren't a failure if you fail, you are a failure if you don't get up to try again" - Imran Khan.

  13. #13
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    T-20's are a reality of today, Kohli is the only one who has successfully made adjustments to all formats. Other batsmen should have no excuse.

  14. #14
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    T20 skills are need of the moment. Technique without skills, not T20s, is what's detrimental.

  15. #15
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    Following cricket for last 40 years, the issue with Pak batters is same, can't play ball moving outside the off. Indian bowlers cant sustain pressure of bowling fast. Eng and Aus weak on spin tracks. Issues are still the same. T20 can never be an excuse, even now your number one T20 batter is best player in test as well! It is about skill set and mind set! Set these two aspects and you are set!

  16. #16
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    Look at indian batsmen why are they not getting effected? We are producing rubbish stop blaming it on T20s.

  17. #17
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    The batting department is BARE EMPTY and it is really a MASSIVE concern if you are a true Pakistan fan.

    Muddy says it how it is and unfortunately when FC cricket would not get any attention or priority and T20 leagues will be getting pumped with all the money and so on then this was and is bound to happen.

    Pakistan's batting resources have been bare for the last 5-10 years almost.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by aukhan View Post
    Look at indian batsmen why are they not getting effected? We are producing rubbish stop blaming it on T20s.
    Because they still take 4-day cricket seriously and want to compete to be the best in that format.



  19. #19
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    Wow. Some really insightful comments.

    He is very considered in his views and raises issues I hadn't even thought about.

    Hope his interviews become a regular feature @saj.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Pakistan View Post
    The reason Mickey Arthur trusts Muddasser with all the upcoming players. Probably also why he fast tracked Shaheen Shah + Shadab into the national side (after Muddaser's recommendation).
    Yes, but Mudassar needs support through the system.

    At the moment too many players in domestic cricket who get picked due to who they know and not how good they are.



  21. #21
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    Think the result of the Emerging Teams Cup points to what Mudasser was talking about.


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