Pakistan news December 26, 2009

Saeed Anwar to hold camp for openers

Cricinfo staff

Former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar is set to conduct a month-long specialist training camp for Pakistan's opening batsmen in Lahore when the team returns home after the Australian tour in February.

"I have decided to hold this training camp for openers after having discussions with the Chairman of the board, Ijaz Butt. He wanted me to help resolve the issue of the national team of not having a pair of reliable openers or good back up," Anwar was quoted as saying in The News.

With over 4000 runs in 55 Tests, Anwar was one of the most prolific openers in Pakistan's history. While timing and placement were the hallmarks of his batting, he also had the ability to weather the storm against the new ball.

Anwar believed Pakistan's opening woes translated into failures in the middle order that got exposed early to the new ball. "To be a successful opener one must have a solid technique and the patience and application to play long innings. The Pakistan middle-order batsmen fail a lot of times because most of the time they are exposed to the new ball very early in the innings."

Mohammad Yousuf, the mainstay of the Pakistan middle order, struggled on this count since he often had to come in early and face the new ball. Anwar contrasted Yousuf's situation with that of Ricky Ponting to drive home his point. "In comparison you look at Ricky Pointing. His biggest advantage is that he comes into bat most of the time after good starts by their openers. It is always easier for a middle order batsman to negotiate and settle down to play a long innings when he comes into bat after a good opening partnership," Anwar said.

Anwar said openers in Pakistan domestic cricket did not focus on eliminating faults in their techniques, as a result of which they got found out in the international stage. "I prospered as an opening batsman after my first international tour because I knew I had to improve my technique and mindset to a great extent to be successful in the long run," Anwar said.