Hafeez wants improvements in domestic pitches, support staff
Following the poor results in South Africa, Pakistan Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez has called for improvements in country's domestic circuit, which will help produce complete players who can cope with any conditions anywhere in the world. He was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Faysal Bank Super Eight Twenty20, after scoring a blistering hundred for Lahore Lions.
Pakistan's domestic structure has seen several changes recently, with revamps almost every two years over the past decade. However the quality of pitches prepared for the domestic matches remains debatable. Hafeez pointed that aspect out, while defending the selections made for the South Africa tour.
"It's not like we aren't picking the right players, those [the one's picked for the national team] are the same players who are performing well on domestic circuit. But there are various areas we need to improve on in the domestic structure including the pitches, making them more competitive. Players who are in contention for national selection should play more domestic cricket.
"There has always been a sense of competition at the domestic level, various youngsters are trying to rise to play for the country and it's the duty of the think tank to give the right players chances. We have every sort of player in our domestic cricket, playing in every format of the game, but at the same time raw players are emerging. There is also a dire need to concentrate on the supporting staff working on the domestic circuit, so that player are groomed properly right from the start and national coach shouldn't have to start from scratch."
Pakistan's batting fragility was key to their poor returns in South Africa, with Hafeez himself looking uncomfortable playing on tracks that offered seam and bounce. He, batting as an opener, managed to score only 43 runs in the Tests and 118 in the ODIs, and was dismissed by Dale Styen on six occasions.
Hafeez said the experience gained from facing South Africa's bowlers in hostile conditions, though, will be visible in the side's performance in upcoming matches. "If you look around the world, successful teams have their winning percentage is around 60 to 65 playing in their home conditions and we aren't even playing in our home conditions for the last four years but still managed to get good results," he said. "Obviously, the way we lost the Test series in South Africa was very disappointing for us, but we came back strongly in the T20 match and the one-day series and finished on a positive note. Having played such tough cricket it will benefit us for future assignments."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here