'Cricket is not played on laptops' - Mohammad Akram
Mohammad Akram, Pakistan's new bowling coach, has said his low-profile CV won't be a drawback as he had learnt a lot from his playing career and believed that "cricket is actually played on ground [and] not on laptops".
Having earlier been rejected after applying for the job, he managed to convince the coach-hunt committee to recruit him for a one-year deal. He played nine Tests and 23 ODIs for Pakistan between 1995 and 2001. Since his last first-class appearance in 2007, he has been involved in cricket through the Lashing cricket club and commentary. As a former Test cricketer based in England, he has been engaged with various colleges and universities as a consultant.
"I have played ample cricket, and learnt a lot from the ground and sitting out on the bench," Akram told ESPNcricinfo. "Cricket ultimately can't be played on laptops; it can only be played in ground, so talking a lot can't help if they want my services and I will do my best to make a difference.
"In my playing days I've worked with the likes of Graham Gooch, Steve Rixon, Javed Miandad and learnt a lot from their coaching techniques and strategies. I [have a lot missing] from my CV but I have something that others don't have - I am a Pakistani, have played cricket around the country from Rawalpindi to Bahawalpur and all over, understand the cricket, know the problems and what has to be done. I need a little time to adjust and 12 months is a lot of time."
Pakistan have been without a bowling coach since former fast bowler Aaqib Javed resigned to take over as UAE's head coach in March, and the PCB was expected to bring in a replacement of Aaqib's stature. A short-term deal was eventually struck with Akram, who takes charge from the Australia series in the UAE. "I didn't ask for a lengthy contract but let's see how this goes with both of us. I will obviously try to use my experience to train the boys and if things don't go well I will walk away.
"I have been following Pakistan cricket keenly for long, and understand we have always had talent. I have plenty to offer to them. Aaqib had done a great job to keep the chain moving and now my emphasis will be to strengthen the bench and ensure we have bowlers who are always ready to have a go.
"I don't think there is any need for a massive stir though things aren't all well with Umar Gul. He needs to return to his best quickly and I think I can make it happen as he needs confidence. I am not going to make it complex, it is always better to have it simple."
Akram is aware of the challenges the job brings but he remains optimistic. With three days left for the Australia series, Akram is ready to join the professional coaching staff headed by Dav Whatmore though he is yet to finish the formalities with the PCB which are expected to be completed in due course.
"The series will be a diagnostic series for me to observe and understand things. I am privileged to have Whatmore, who is a complete institution himself, in charge," said Akram, who debuted against Whatmore-coached Sri Lanka in 1995.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent