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Flower aims to optimise Pakistan's batting talent

Umar Farooq

July 18, 2014

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Zimbabwe batting coach Grant Flower, Ahmedabad, World Cup, February 20, 2011
Grant Flower: One of the best things about Pakistan's batting is their flair and I never want to take it out from any of them © AFP
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Grant Flower, Pakistan's new batting coach, has said his aim is to bring about a significant change in Pakistan's approach to batting and help talented batsmen deliver more consistently, or else he "wouldn't have traveled that far". The former Zimbabwe batsman began his new role at the conditioning camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, ahead of the short tour of Sri Lanka in August.

Flower, 43, was Zimbabwe's batting coach for over three years starting October 2010. He said the challenge of adjusting to a different system in Pakistan, with its diverse culture and mindset, drew him to the job.

"The challenge of being in a different place brought me here," Flower said at his first media interaction since arriving in the country. "I have given a lot to Zimbabwe cricket but I think it's time to move on, develop my own coaching career and evolve as person.

"I like to (bring a significant change) in Pakistan's batting otherwise I would not have come here. We all know how talented the players are and I rate them high. But maybe sometimes they don't get the most out of their talent and I am here to coach them."

In recent years the team has been let down by batting collapses. However, there have been exceptions, such as the Sharjah Test in January against Sri Lanka where they pulled off an astonishing chase, knocking off 302 runs within 58 overs on the last day to level the three-match series. Despite turning to former players including Inzamam-ul-Haq, Javed Miandad and Zaheer Abbas as coaches, the performances have been inconsistent.

Flower understands the challenges ahead of him, one of which is fine-tuning the batsmen's skills without compromising on their natural game.

"The team has a very good blend of experience with the senior batsmen and then there are some talented players coming through. But obviously I will have to treat each individual differently and this is what I am learning. I do know some of the players and their constraints as well and the areas where I need to work on.

"One of the best things about Pakistan's batting is their flair and I never want to take it out from any of them. So, maybe it's just about fine-tuning and getting them to play with more consistency but I've still got to learn more about the players and their games."

The trend of appointing foreign coaches in Pakistan has always attracted criticism from former cricketers and when asked if this could distract him he said, "Definitely I've also got a lot of respect for the big names in the country as they have done so much for Pakistan cricket. I will be lying if I say I won't be under pressure but it's part of the job which you get paid for and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

When informed about Miandad's views that national players do not need coaching, Flower said: "Everyone has their opinions and the right to disagree but players are improving all the time. If you take players like [Mahela] Jayawardene, I am sure even they speak to the best players to know about their game. But it's about fine turning at the top as a lot of players have been around for a long time. Either it's a mental thing or even a tiny little technical thing - we all improve with time."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by xylofon on (July 23, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

You can teach someone technique but never to make the right choice inside the match as that is up to each individual: what I mean is you can work with people like Umar Akmal and fine tune their skills, but if he makes a coming down the pitch shot in a match situation where its not needed when there are 20 over remaning (ODI) then its the batsmans fault. We are not talking technique here but mentality and psychology. This hero style batting (Flower calls it flair kindly) has got to be done away with. Maybe not all of it, Flower has a point, but basically they have to transform like Ahmed Shehzad has to some extent.

Like Imran says leadership is about punishing some people, loving some people, understanding some people - all dependent on the individual need. PCB have failed to pick the right people with decent leadership skills (doesnt have to be Imran level).

One thing is for sure: PCB is to blame for the chaos in Pakistan Cricket.

Good luck Flower.

Posted by Diaz54 on (July 21, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

Basically Pak batsmen lack patience, discipline to play a long innings. They seem to be happy to score 50 and do not look to build a longer innings. Their ability to leave good balls is also poor. All the best batters in the world have the ability to judge line and length and are prepared to leave balls which they do not need to play. Pak batsmen get frustrated before the bowlers get frustrated, they like to feel,bat on ball.

The current copy are technically flawed. So the coach will have to do some serious work.

Posted by hassubaby on (July 19, 2014, 22:29 GMT)

As far as Sharjeel Khan is concerned,he has NO footwork and is BOUND TO FAIL sooner or later! Plus he doesn't seem to have the attitude of a person who wants to stay on the crease too long. He is not a bad guy to have on flat pitches in T20s though.

Sohaib Maqsood and Asad Shafiq can be good for both tests and one days even though shafiq has been having a horror of a time recently in the ODIs i think he can come back.

Fawad Alam and Azhar ali should BOTH be a part of the middle order I believe.

Imagine a middle order of Azhar Ali,Fawad Alam,Asad Shafiq and then lower order we can have Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal to add quick runs!

Pakistan desperately needs a hitter like Razzaq though once Afridi retires! Anybody know of any upcoming talents in domestic cricket who can be useful hitters at the bottom???

Posted by hassubaby on (July 19, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

One of the things that Pakistan batsman really lack is consistency and the reason for that is lack of patience and no ambition in batting. Because india has Sachin as their main star to look up to,most of their batsman WANT to score centuries. Our batsman are fairly content with a quick fire 50.

And since we have wasim and imran to look up to our bowlers are rarely satisfied with bowling mediocre medium pace. We love to bowl fast and naturally have a very aggressive mental attitude.

When the ball is coming onto the bat very nicely it becomes very very tempting to smash the ball around the park. It is in that case Flower needs to tell the batsman to control their aggression and remain patient to build a longer innings.

Posted by   on (July 19, 2014, 21:23 GMT)

All the Best Grant Flower. Show us what you can do for the team.

Posted by android_user on (July 19, 2014, 20:21 GMT)

Grant, we, the Pakistan cricket fans wish you all the best and hope that you would try your best to sort out the problems that we face with our batting. We hope that you'd succeed. We pray that the players learn everything that they can from you and do you proud.

Posted by Shazli on (July 19, 2014, 12:05 GMT)

Good luck Grant,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by android_user on (July 19, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

Good luck Grant. Dont expect you to stay for more than 3 intl series.

Zimbabwe's batting (while u were coach) doesnt have much to show, especially when we talk abt consistency. Pakistani batsmen need a mental coach. not a batting coach

Posted by majid36 on (July 19, 2014, 8:23 GMT)

good luck GRANT , looking forward to umar akmal . how grant mentally prepare him.

Posted by   on (July 19, 2014, 6:54 GMT)

Consistecy as well as flair, very ambitious and tough. Good luck Grant Flower.

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