Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Time to make the right call

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Not so long ago the Pakistan Cricket team was regarded as the unpredictable outfit, but slowly and gradually this impression is fading away, still a long way to go thou but things are seemingly moving in the right direction. Prior to the Pak-England series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the expectations with the Pakistan team were not high, but the show put up by the green caps in the desert was more than appreciable.

It is said that victory has many fathers, while a failure is an orphan and story after the famous white-wash in the U.A.E was not different, but the due credit should be given to all those responsible. The whole management, the team, captain and the coach deserve all the applause. After the notorious spot-fixing scandal in 2010, the way boys responded was truly remarkable. After the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq the coach Mohsin Khan should also be appreciated because he had to fight on two fronts. Firstly he had to take on the mighty England and secondly he had to negate the impression created by the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf, prior to the series, that the former opener was not qualified or in other words not competent to coach the team.

After Waqar Younis’s resignation, the PCB constituted a committee to look for a new coach, and the PCB chairman clarified that the new coach would be a qualified individual. In view of the latest developments in this regard, it’s would not be a hard guess that Dev Whatmore is all set to take on the responsibility soon.

The point is that what is the responsibly of the coach or what is expected from him? If the team is showing consistency and the signs of improvement then will it be a wise move to replace him with someone else?

One school of thought, which includes the PCB chairman as well, is of the view that modern day cricket needs an up-to-date coach equipped with modern techniques and methodologies, but this group has missed a trick that here is Pakistan, we have a different culture, where performance could not be extracted by pushing the guys too much. Traditionally as well, our players perform on the flare and instincts and in this case a cool and calm individual who could easily take a back seat could serve the purpose.  Remember, what was the problem between Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis? Afridi claimed that Waqar wanted a bit too much, and who could guarantee a different approach from Whatmore?

The current bunch of players, who have played a lot of cricket, cannot just alter their techniques overnight, and this is the point where if the new coach would push them, they would probably get disturbed.

Mohsin or Whatmore or whoever, the ultimate goal is the betterment of Pakistan cricket. The new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Zaka Ashraf seems pretty upbeat and has repeatedly vowed to take adequate measures, but before appointing the coach he should be extra careful. Before making the final call he should take the past experiences as well as the culture of the Pakistan cricket and cricketers into account.

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