Intikhab calls for fielding camps in Pakistan
Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, believes the Pakistan board needs to organise specialist fielding training camps across Pakistan in order to improve standards in the national side.
Pakistan's fielding through tours to New Zealand and Australia has reached an all-time low and at a conservative estimate they have dropped at least 25 chances through the six Tests. Most of the chances here in Australia have been critical ones; both Shane Watson and Simon Katich were dropped in the first session of the series in Melbourne, both scored nineties; Michael Hussey was dropped thrice at Sydney on the way to a matchwinning hundred; Ricky Ponting was dropped on zero in Hobart and went on to score a double-hundred.
Intikhab and Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan's captain, have struggled to stem the rot, insisting there is no need for a specialist fielding coach but not offering any tangible solution otherwise. Intikhab has consistently - and justifiably - called it a grassroots problem, arguing that the lack of care for fielding at domestic level instills poor habits into players who make it to the national side.
"They should organise 10-20 days fielding camps for the players in which catching, throwing, fielding and all things are practiced," Intikhab said. "We have coaches at every level. Put these camps up in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Have 15-day camps and just get players from all levels to practice there every day."
Waqar Younis is currently appointed to the side as a bowling and fielding coach, but that is, for now, only till the end of this series. There has been talk of appointing a specialist fielding coach and Pakistan did benefit a little during the coaching stint of Geoff Lawson, when they had hired Mohtashim Rasheed as one. But his services haven't since been retained.
"These camps really need to be organised," Intikhab said. "Whenever a guy comes into the Pakistan side, then only they are taught how to field and the basics of fielding, like how to bend for a ball, how to attack a ball. We have to emphasise this and work on it otherwise it will not get better."
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo