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May 28, 2007

New age

This team needs a coach

Kamran Abbasi
Tim Boon organises a fielding session, Sri Lanka v England, Dambulla, November 17, 2003
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The question is simple to put but hard to answer: Does the Pakistan cricket team need a coach? Ramiz Raja and Shahid Afridi, an unusual alliance, believe not. Pakistan can do just as well without. Once you are an international cricketer what coaching do you require?

When Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992, Imran's Tigers had the benefit of coach Intikhab Alam. Seven years later, when Wasim Akram lead Pakistan to another World Cup final, Mushtaq Mohammad, another legspinner, was in charge of fielding practice. Yet it isn't clear what either of those two coaches added? Imran and Wasim were all dominant.

Since then Pakistan tried a low-key international coach (Richard Pybus), a low-key home coach (Mudassar Nazar), a high-profile home coach (Javed Miandad), and a high-profile international coach (Bob Woolmer). On objective measures of success, Woolmer was the most successful helping Pakistan gain high positions in the Test and One-day rankings, although the last year of his charge was a disaster. Even Woolmer's malleable personality found obstacles within the team, a problem that Javed Miandad--who I once imagined would be the ideal coach for Pakistan--nurtured all too easily.

Which brings us back to the debate of the moment. You might make the case that an experienced captain with an experienced team could do without a coach, or tolerate one in the supportive role that Intikhab and Mushtaq played.

But this Pakistan team is full of players with plenty of learning to do. Pakistan's domestic cricket delivers raw talent not the finely-honed final product. Indeed many of the players' techniques require work and it isn't clear that they have the capacity to be self-motivated learners or even appreciate good advice when it looks them in the mouth. Woolmer became increasingly frustrated with the inability of this crop of players to improve through experience and advice.

So not only do Pakistan require a coach--or a team of coaches--but the players need to open up their minds and be willing to learn from others. With fewer big name stars to interfere and block the role of the coach, a situation that both Miandad and Woolmer encountered to some degree, Pakistan have an ideal opportunity to appoint somebody who can nurture the talent available and work in partnership with the captain.

In many ways, with few megastars to rub up the wrong way, the time for Woolmer or Miandad in their differing styles was now. Dav Whatmore, a proven team-builder with vast international coaching experience, could have been a sensible choice if a foreign coach was required. But the early chatter about Aaqib Javed has given way to whispers about Tim Boon, a good English coach with unproven international credentials.

The easy decision is that Pakistan require a coach. The harder one is working out who that should be in a country that has a poor tradition of working constructively with coaches. More importantly still, Ramiz Raja and Shahid Afridi will be proven right if the players are unable or unwilling to learn - and that is the biggest challenge Shoaib Malik and his new coach will now face.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by OriellBlagree on (August 17, 2008, 5:05 GMT)

I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

Posted by Anonymous on (June 19, 2007, 20:30 GMT)

How was Woolmer the most successful coach...Pak did not win a single series outside the subcontinent under his tenure, infact the only series Pak won abroad was in Sri Lanka. In total Pakistan lost three series, drew three and won three. On the other hand under Miandad, Pakistani won three, one of which was against the South Africa, a Pakistan first and the only loss came against the Indians. Therefore, miandand not Woolmer was the most successful coach based on results. I fail to comprehend why there is so much dislike of Miandad amongst pakistani fans...maybe it has to do with him being from Karachi.

Posted by Religious Figure Required. on (June 17, 2007, 15:19 GMT)

Pakistan Cricket needs a Religious figure to be their next head coach!

remember 92 world cup where most of the team was extremely religious prayed 5 times a day led by Imran Khan, there were rumors that he even led a prayer in an airport.

that is why they won the world cup.

Posted by ryan on (June 13, 2007, 14:51 GMT)

Pakistan team is always full of raw natural talents. If a good coach could unite and improve them, they would become a very good side.

Posted by Sankar,K on (June 13, 2007, 5:14 GMT)

Get a good coach, then you will see one the best cricket team played for ever, you have one of the best pool of quick bowlers, use resources to the full because bowlers wins matches, even australians may be behind you in this strenght. So please form a good setup, because we all love pacers winning matches.

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (June 5, 2007, 23:50 GMT)

EAMIRAN: "Provoke any thoughts now?"

I think you are talking about Shoaib Akhtar right? Because, myself I am such an akhroat that I cannot understand black humour. And your contempt and disdain is a kinda scorn or a state of being despised by a better species for no reason and, you consider them as worthless and call average, its your perception and your prerogative! I wonder whom you are comparing them with? A Pakistani with an Australian or an Earthling with a Martian? Whether he preens and prims or even plume in front of the camera, does that make you feel any inferior? If the likes of Govinda, Ajay Devgun and whoever else consider themselves as handsome and robust in front of the camera, then whats wrong if a better looking species is displaying his charisma and good looks on TV? :-)

Posted by EAMIRAN on (June 5, 2007, 2:42 GMT)

Javed A. Khan

My comments regarding Rameez and Afridi weren't meant to be HA! HA! funny. Au contraire, it was an attempt at black humour (apparently not good enough for some). It was meant to convey my complete and utter contempt and disdain for average players who refuse to learn from their mistakes and then preen and primp themselves for the camera like movie stars. Sounds familiar? Provoke any thoughts now?

Posted by Dawar, LA USA on (June 4, 2007, 16:59 GMT)

Once again Pakistan Cricket Board is thinking to hire foreign coach for the Pakistan cricket team but most of our cricket players are incapable of properly speaking or understand English.

This is nothing to be ashamed of since it is not our mother tongue. But the question is how will the foreign coaches coach the team when they cannot not express what they want to say. Has anyone in the board thought about this?

This is one of the reason we were failed under Bob Woolmer and lost against Ireland. One of the worst defeat in the cricket history. Most of famous Pakistani cricketers not in the favour of PCB to hire foreign coach.

Only Wasim Akram support to hire forign coach. Pl note: Per justice Qayyum report Wasim Akram is not qualified for any position at PCB. So he knows well he can not be the coach of Pakistan cricket team.

Dawar LA, USA

Posted by WASIM SAQIB on (June 4, 2007, 5:27 GMT)

The government of Jamaica should revoke the medical licence of that Indian Doctor who did the first autopsy On Bob woolmer,PCB should sue that doctor,only on the basis of his report the whole murder theory evolved,its a shame for all the Indians all over the world the way their media exploited the issue and tried to malign Pakistan Cricket team.DOOB MARNEY KA MUQAM HEY INDIA KEY LIYE.

Posted by M. Nawaz Janjua, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on (June 4, 2007, 5:10 GMT)

ASSALAMO ALAIKUM,

I think the team should have a coach whether foreign or local. Sometimes, the situation is such that you the tema needs somebody to take up the matter and make the difference. Otherwise, you can have as many trainers required.

Mr. Kamran, please one thing I would like to remind that the names should be mentioned completely I mean e.g. Inzamam-ul-Haq, you cannot say "Ul-Haq" for it is one of the adjectives of Allah. "Ul" means "The" which is only used when you are mentioning a quality of Allah. You may say "Haq" for INZAMAM but not "Ul Haq". I hope I am clear in that.

ALLAH HAFIZ & WASSALAM

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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