Pakistan news March 29, 2016

Cosmetic changes won't help Pakistan cricket - Waqar


Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has offered to step down after the side's poor performance at the World T20 2016 but has warned that cosmetic changes will be insufficient to address the deeper issues within Pakistan cricket. Speaking to the media in Lahore before meeting with a committee set up to look into the side's performance, Waqar also apologised to the fans for the poor World T20 result.

Pakistan won only one of the four group matches in the World T20, after a debacle in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh last month where they failed to qualify for the final. Following the team's early exit in the Asia Cup, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had hinted at sweeping changes, and the board formed a special committee to monitor Pakistan's performance. This committee is expected to submit its recommendations to the PCB chairman later this week. Waqar's two-year contract ends in June but it is learnt that his tenure with the side is unlikely to be extended.

"I apologise to the whole nation, to all of you and to all the people who were at the airport chanting against us, all the people at the NCA [National Cricket Academy] who look after us," Waqar said. "I apologise to everyone. Literally, I fold my hands and request all of you to forgive us for the way we performed, it should not have been this way. Our performance should have been better, but unfortunately that didn't happen."

This is Waqar's second stint as coach, after he had guided the side in 2010-11. He had parted ways with the team in 2011 due to a rift with captain Shahid Afridi. With Waqar and Misbah-ul-Haq at the helm, Pakistan had climbed to No. 2 in the ICC Test rankings, and are currently at No. 4. Their position in the limited-overs rankings, however, has been weak. They are currently ranked No. 8 among ODI sides and No. 7 in the T20I format. The side's last win in a T20I series came in September 2015 against Zimbabwe, and they subsequently lost series to England and New Zealand in the lead-up to the Asia Cup and the World T20.

Waqar refrained from blaming individuals, and instead urged the PCB to address the deeper issues in the system.

"These days there is a notion being discussed to dismiss the chairman, selectors or the coaches, but the point is whether the problems are really being understood. Are we really getting down to the problem in our country and mending it? Are we really correcting the system which needs to be rectified?

"So cosmetic changes will not help. This might bring temporary relief, might make you feel that things have changed and everything is fine but I think we should think about this deeply and mark the problems," he said. "We know where the problems are and we have to open our eyes, eradicate the politics from cricket and get things right. I had mentioned these problems in 2015 and have put them up again. I can hope the PCB can deal with them.

"We don't need to hide anything, everything is in front of us, they way we played. It's not like I am hiding anything. In fact, the time to sweep things under the rug is over. It is time to step up and solve problems. People have blamed me. That's not an issue. I will go home but the problem remains. If the problem is solved by sacking me, then sack me. Not tomorrow, but today. But the problem is deeper than that."

Waqar also chose to play down the uncertainty surrounding his future in the role.

"My future as coach isn't relevant. Why is there a sense that Pakistan cricket is linked with my future? It is definitely not. I had a stint previously as well and I am here again but I may not be there in the future and someone else may come in. The point is, I am not the problem. We have to find the real problem."

Waqar has submitted his report of the tournament to the PCB chairman and it is learnt that the report covers a wide range of issues, from selection matters to the players' capacities and the issues he has faced in last two years. While he refused to divulge information about the report, he said that most of the issues facing Pakistan cricket were in the public domain, prime among them being the lack of international cricket in country.

"It's not that roots have always been weak in the country ... cricket not being played here in Pakistan is one of the many problems but we have to take care of our stadiums and domestic cricket to get it going.

"Yes not having international cricket in Pakistan did make an impact and disturbed the roots of cricket. Whatever you have made in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, a home away from home, isn't really a solution. India and other countries are producing cricketers by playing at home grounds. Cricket the game isn't for stars, it's a game for heroes. We often mix it as you may see a star doing TV ads but cricket is played by heroes and those who play the game don't see other things around. So we want heroes and not the stars."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manan on April 1, 2016, 12:48 GMT

    Guys have u seen our fielding. 1)Raina 2)Rahane 3)M Pandey 4) Jadeja 5) Kohli 6) Rohit 7) H Pandya

    7 excellent fielders. Very quick running between the wicket. India has improved a lot while pakistan is way behind in batting , fielding.

    Agree our bowling is not great. Its just a matter of time we will be there soon.

  • asad on March 30, 2016, 13:15 GMT

    Sure guys like Kohli and Root also strive by playing classic shots and rotating strike but they've also got the ability to shift gears when needed and are surrounded by big hitters. In t20s I'd say someone like Sharjeel is very valuable in the t20 team for the quick starts he can give. Anyways all this talk about selection is useless if the selectors don't listen. I think the selectors should be changed as they often don't pick deserving players and often pick players for the wrong format. For example: Bilal Asif scored a t20 century so he was then selected for the ODI team & chosen to open the batting. He should have been somewhere in the PSL & maybe in the wt20 squad as he provides a big hitter down the order as well as a specialist spinner, both things which we were missing. Theres also domestic legends like Fawad Alam & Sadaf Hussain who have stunning stats in list A & FC but aren't even considered in ODIs & test. You have the best chance of winning if you pick the best 11.

  • Arjun on March 30, 2016, 13:14 GMT

    create a pool of 30 best players and stick with them for at least 1 year. Team will be consistent. Sorry but Waqar should go along with management, selection committee and of course Afridi, Hafeez, Malik, Sami

  • Inam on March 30, 2016, 13:10 GMT

    Selection is awful for a while now, there is no consistency at all, when you appoint afridi as captain a person so irresponsible in batting yiubset example, then they appointed odi captain who was not in team, azhar tried to play a way that is not his style, he did good against poor teams but still lisptick on pig scenario. Pcb is tun by people who have no clue, keep investing in older player who have no shelf life, misbah appointment after 2011 WC was a disaster, his brand of tuk tuk cricket has pushed back pakistan in odi tanking and when he retired he did not have moulded a successor, what was the point of misbah being captain, look how other teams are appointing captains and how the vice captains are groomed, there is so much continuity, in case of pak, they need new captain almost every series, need openers also, why harris sohail and sohaib maqsood are gone out of favor from ODI. Why uae pitches are made so slow so pakistan own players struggled to play there and loose series.

  • asad on March 30, 2016, 13:03 GMT

    I honestly think that Waqar is part of the problem. Under him only Wahab Riaz showed some improvement in bowling while the rest have performed inconsistently or if they performed then it was mainly due to their own talent. Also the rate at which our players got injured suddenly jumped when he came. I think Wasim Akram should become bowling coach, not because he's a legend but because he's shown in some instances that he can coach a bowling unit and improve them. Also Pakistan need a proper batting coach who really just tells them to rotate strike when needed and hit big in the death. Now some people are saying to include guys like Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam into the t20 team. I agree that these guys are probably the best batsmen in Pakistan but they all lack big hitting capabilities (except for maybe Azam who showed in NZ that he can score at a decent SR). These guys are more like players who play classical cricket shots & rotate strike. (continued...)

  • siva on March 30, 2016, 13:02 GMT

    Pak's problems are 75% management and 20% players and 5% others. So, just sack all the people starting from chairman. Then strengthen their domestic matches and finally infuse confidence in the players.

  • Amir on March 30, 2016, 12:50 GMT

    The cosmetic changes indeed will not help and since Waqar was also a cosmetic change, he needs to go.

  • Kumarpal on March 30, 2016, 12:40 GMT

    Why doesn't Pakistan keep the same team for a year? Last year they gave Haris Sohail a chance and he's been thrown out, also Fawad Ahmed who was in the team in 2014 Asia Cup where is he? Please Pakistan pick better fielders you ruin your chances of winning matches when crucial half chances and run outs are missed.

  • Din on March 30, 2016, 12:37 GMT

    The top order needs to show some more responsibility. Except for Shoaib Malik, everyone is attempting to score a boundary of each delivery which causing thier downfall. There is a lot of potential in Hafeez and Shahzad if they can be groomed by a sensible captain and coach (something they dont have today).

  • Kumarpal on March 30, 2016, 12:34 GMT

    Mohammed Hafeez didn't put any effort to make his bowling action legal. Umar Akmal has continued the Akmal trait of being irresponsible as a player. But what can he do if the captain Shahid Afridi is such a bad role model. Pakistan first wasted Younis Khan by making him bat up and down in batting order, then Wahab Riaz's bowling wasn't looked at. Mohammed Irfan has always been a waste with his ungainly fielding efforts. Then Mohammed Sami is picked to play for the country out of nowhere.

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