Not easy to manage the Pakistan team - Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan captain, who takes over from Yawar Saeed as manager of the Pakistan team for the series against South Africa beginning later this month, believes that managing the Pakistan team is not an easy job, especially in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal.
"My job will be to make sure that everything is okay in the UAE,"Alam told the News. "We will try our best to enhance the image of the Pakistan cricket team."
Alam, 68, is not new to the job - he has been a track-suited manager/coach on many Pakistan tours from 1982-92, including the 1992 World Cup that Pakistan won. He was also Pakistan's coach during their disastrous tour of Australia in 2009-10 where Pakistan lost all their matches - three Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 game.
Alam had launched a scathing attack on Pakistan's cricketers after that tour, calling them "mentally retarded" when he was questioned by a PCB inquiry committee. But Alam believed that would have no negative impact on his relations with the players in his new role.
"The whole thing was blown out of proportion. During the probe, I just questioned the players' cricketing sense. As the team's coach, I think it was my duty to do so."
Alam was replaced by Waqar Younis as Pakistan's coach after the Australia tour. He was then appointed as the head of Pakistan's National Cricket Academy. Despite his vast experience, Alam said he would not interfere with the coaching staff. "It will be the team's coaches who will take care of the cricketing side. I'll be there as a guiding hand but my main job will be to manage the team and that's it.
"I know Waqar well, I know Aaqib [Javed] well. I've worked with the coaching staff before and I have a very good understanding with them." Former Pakistan fast bowler Javed is the team's assistant coach.
Pakistan play two Twenty20 games, five ODIs and two Tests against South Africa in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Alam warned, that despite Pakistan's familiarity with the conditions in the UAE, South Africa would not be easy opponents. "South Africa are a very professional side. We will have to do our homework and I'm sure that the coach and captain will ensure that."
The tour begins on October 26 with the first Twenty20 game that will be played on at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.