Pakistan news October 2, 2013

Ajmal apologises over Whatmore remarks

ESPNcricinfo staff

A controversy over the remarks made by Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan spinner and one of the team's senior players, about the national coach Dav Whatmore seems to have blown over after Ajmal apologised.

Whatmore had tweeted his displeasure over Ajmal's comments, after which the PCB had advised Ajmal to meet the coach to clear the air. "I immediately went up to Dav and apologised and explained the context and circumstances in which I made certain remarks," Ajmal said in a PCB media release.

"Dav has worked tirelessly with the Pakistan team and it would be extremely unfair not to recognise his services. I enjoy very good relations with Dav and am hopeful of continuing this in the coming series."

Pakistan have not won a Test series since Whatmore, a former Australia international and World Cup-winning coach with Sri Lanka, took charge in 2012. That was on the back of Pakistan whitewashing England in the UAE under Mohsin Khan but, ahead of their return to the region to host South Africa, their most recent result was a 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe.

Whatmore last week described the defeat to Zimbabwe in the second Test as "embarrassing, upsetting and disappointing" but expressed confidence in the team. However, Ajmal appeared to praise Whatmore's predecessors, Mohsin and Waqar Younis, during a lengthy interview with Geo TV.

Asked about having a foreign coach - Whatmore was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Australia - Ajmal said: "There is no difference, just that we are paying more to him, otherwise there is no difference. Waqar handled us better. He used to stress on fitness and he used to say that if your fitness is good then you are 80% okay on the ground, but if it's only 20% then you cannot do anything on the ground.

"Mohsin did well. He would scold in front [of the team] if anyone is not taking wickets or a batsman is not scoring, irrespective of if he is senior or junior. If a junior was not performing then he would say that if you don't, then you will not be able to keep your place.

"Dav is a foreign coach, he doesn't know our language much, but he is a coach and has done coaching for various countries and has helped other teams win, he is not that bad. We had our coaches, we have our language."

Ajmal, who is ranked the fourth-best bowler in Test cricket, was inspirational when Pakistan beat England in the UAE last year and he claimed 11 wickets in Harare last month to give Whatmore his maiden Test-match win as coach. His form will be crucial against South Africa, who beat Pakistan 3-0 at the start of 2013, and he stressed that it was the players on the pitch, rather than Whatmore, who had to fix Pakistan's poor recent record.

"I am not saying that I am not satisfied, he is a good coach and helped Sri Lanka lift the World Cup," Ajmal said.

"I am happy in every situation, if there is trouble then it's okay, I laugh and smile and even if there are hard times then it is inevitable, this is my lifestyle ... I don't have any problems [with] who is coming in as coach and, for me, more important is what reaction he has on my performance. He helps us get everything on what the batsmen are doing wrong. He tells us instantly what we have to do. He can't go [on to] the field. His job is to tell us what to do."

October 2, 2013 7.00pm GMT This story has been updated after Ajmal's apology

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gurinder on October 5, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    @ mzm-- in pasttimes ,wi ruled world cricket. at present stage they are fighting bangladesh and pakistan to avoid last place in test rankings. times change man, accept that at present pak cricket is at all time low and only way is up. clutching at straws like digging out records vs zimbabwe wont solve cricket problems on field. india did changes to domestic structure and now have world class structure. hope pak too do same and have competitive teams in future.

  • Muhammad on October 5, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    @samincolumbia: The nation at Pakistan's level i.e. India is afraid of losing that is why they don't play at neutral venue or even in India. In fact Pakistan is better than India because Pakistan has won 12 tests against India and lost only 9.

    Has India started playing only Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Scotland, Ireland and the likes after humiliation against Bangladesh in Asia Cup?

    India lost test series against England even at home what to speak of whitewash in England. Pakistan whitewashed England who were no. 1 at that time.

    If your criterion for greatness of a team is performance against Zimbabwe, Pakistan has better performance than India. Pakistan lost 3 out of 47 ODIs (6.4%) whereas India lost 10 out of 54 ODIs (18.5%) against Zimbabwe. Pakistan lost 3 out of 17 tests (17.6%) whereas India lost 2 out of 11 tests (18.2%) against Zimbabwe.

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Give Dav a team selected on merit, consisting of players in form, and then decide if he can do the job, or not. He has performed well in his other stints, so, it's rather unfair to call him out like that. Also, I am baffled at the consistent barrage of comments, everywhere, to drop Asad Shafiq. He, alongwith Younis, was our most successful batsman in South Africa. Since that series, he's been treated like a yo-yo, in in one match, out in the other. How do they expect him to perform, or regain form, like that? His average is far superior to that of Hafeez; and Hafeez has been playing without any gaps. People against the selection of Faisal Iqbal should keep that in mind, too. 20 odd matches in ten years time, he never got a consistent run to be able to show his mettle. And, I am afraid Fawad Alam is going to end up like that, too.

  • u on October 4, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Waqar with Aaqib as bowling coach was the best for the team. sorry to say but Afridi had big ego and Waqar ended up leaving and Aaqib stayed but when Dav Whatmore was appointed he left for UAE role.

    I would still like to see Waqar and Aaqib back and the recent players like Yousuf, Inzi, Anwar, Shibby in the setup.

    However, the old school have a grip on PCB

  • Dark on October 4, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    I strongly agree with asiacricket1234... But again why not great servants of Pakistani cricket, players like Wasim Akram/Saeed Anwar/Inzamam-ul-Haq/Moin Khan/Saleem Malik/Aamer Sohail/Yousuf Youhana/Shoaib Akhtar don't get a chance to coach Pakistan????

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Zulfiqar Babar is an extra ordinary spinner. His First Class record is even better than Ajmal & A Rehman. Pakistan must play with 3 spinners against South Africa on spin tracks.

    Saeed Ajmal : 118 Matches, 452 Wickets, 7/55 BB, Average 26.64, Runs per over 2.72, Strike Rate 58.6, 29 times 5 wickets in an innings, 5 times 10 wickets in a match

    Abdur Rehman : 129 Matches, 479 Wickets, 9/65 BB , Average 25.87, Runs per over 2.60, Strike Rate 59.6, 23 times 5 wickets in an innings, 5 times 10 wickets in a match

    Zulfiqar Babar: 63 Matches, 309 Wickets, 10/143 BB , Average 20.36, Runs per over 2.67, Strike Rate 45.7, 19 times 5 wickets in an innings, 3 times 10 wickets in a match

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    I think Saeed Ajmals initial remarks were correct. Whatmore has failed as a coach and the downfall of the team has proven that.Dave Whatmore should have been removed and Mohsin Khan shuld replace him. Afridi should be one day captain. After all these two guys brought a weak team to the semi final of the world cup.. A team that was predicted not even to make the qualifying rounds

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    indians record in overseas condition is very poor compare to pakistan .winning only one test in last series in sa is not big thing pakistan also win couple of test in sa

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    I think the issue lies way deeper then on the field. The issue lies in getting top talent selected on domestic or club level and then nurturing it properly.

    I have lived in four cricket playing countries (Australia, UK, New Zealand and Pakistan) and I can tell you that there is some crazy talent in Pakistan - on the streets. However, due to the below reasons, most players (good ones) leave playing cricket in their early 20z:

    1) There is no proper channel of getting into professional cricket in Pakistan.

    2) There isn't much in Pakistani domestic cricket that would attract players (money, fame, endorsements etc).

    3) Bad reputation of management and selection committees (bribe, personal favours).

    Pakistan needs to do two things:

    1) Attract young talented crickets by offering more in return then they currently do. It does not have to be monitory return in full but could be education, fame and other things.

    2) Promote school and club level cricket.


  • Sammy on October 3, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    @mzm149 - India came close to winning a series in SA last time and even won a test. When was the last time Pakistan won a test match in SA? After the Zimbabwe humiliation, they should be playing matches against nations at their level rather than taking on SA!

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