Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Perth December 19, 2004

Woolmer battles Pakistan's 'mental confusion'

Cricinfo staff

That sinking feeling ... Inzamam-ul-Haq trudges off after his first-ball duck © Getty Images
Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, admitted that his side's performance at Perth was so poor that he is contemplating calling in a sports psychologist in a bid to revive the team's spirits.

He told reporters that Pakistan were suffering from "mental confusion and mental awe" when facing the Australian bowlers. "It's more really, I think, that we have to look inside here," Woolmer said, pointing to his head. "I'll speak to a couple of friends and things like that, I have some ideas. There are one or two very helpful people who will help me.

Mindful of last week's attack by Javed Miandad when he was accused of not knowing the Pakistan cricket culture, Woolmer stressed that the people he recruited would come from the Pakistani community. "They can't come from outside," he stressed. "They are the ones that understand their own people and that's very important.

"It was an abject performance, very disappointing," Woolmer continued. "I can't speak for them, but obviously there's an element of the mental confusion and the mental awe in this performance.

"There's a combination of the technical side and the mental side involved in the way they played that particular innings. We will go back to the drawing board and work hard."

Woolmer was particular perplexed at his batsmen's shot selection. "We've been working very hard on leaving the ball and playing straight, and as soon as they got into the middle that went out the window. We're going to have to keep talking about it. We need the guys to get in, spend 30 minutes at the crease and then start playing square of the wicket, but it's not happening. We can't make excuses."

If there is pressure on Woolmer, that's nothing compared with that on Inzamam-ul-Haq after two listless innings which produced one run. Not only were his on-field performances were poor, he attracted additional criticism for missing the afternoon session on Saturday with back and stomach complaints. The Pakistan board's decision to appoint him for three series is already looking as if it might come back to haunt it.