Mohsin Khan has dismissed the suggestion that a lack of coaching qualifications has rendered him unsuitable for the position of Pakistan coach on a permanent basis.
Mohsin, who will be 57 next month and is the veteran of 48 Tests and 75 ODIs, was appointed as Pakistan's interim coach in October after Waqar Younis resigned for health reasons. Now it appears inevitable that Mohsin will be replaced by Dav Whatmore after the conclusion of Pakistan's limited-overs games against England, with the PCB citing the need for a coach with formal qualifications.
Mohsin and his captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, have been widely acclaimed for bringing stability and contentment to a Pakistan dressing room so often riven by conflict. Pakistan recently beat England 3-0 in the Test series to leave them unbeaten in seven series. But the chairman of the PCB, Zaka Ashraf, said: "No doubt the team has achieved tremendous success under Mohsin, but we need a qualified coach. We need to have foreign or locally qualified coaches in every department."
Clearly Mohsin does not agree. While he is still keen to remain in the role, he said he was "not at all interested" in taking the requisite coaching qualifications. "Any cricketer who has played for his country for nine or ten years and played 40 to 50 to 80 to 100 matches does not need any qualification," Mohsin said. "I don't need to do any coaching courses. If you have played as much cricket as I have, your experience is worth more than any coaching course.
"As an ex-Test cricketer, whenever my services are required for my country's cricket it should be there without any hesitation. It was there, it is there, and it will be there whenever my cricket board requires my services.
"Do I want to remain as coach? Well if my cricket board wants, yes, definitely. I have been doing this for the last four months and I think the team has done well, apart from the previous three ODIs, which I feel very disappointed about because we haven't played to our potential. But if my cricket board wants me to do the job, fine, I will definitely do it."
Just a little of the gloss has been taken off the Misbah-Mohsin partnership by Pakistan's travails in the ODI series. Heading in to the final match on Tuesday, they are facing the possibility of a 4-0 loss, with England having won the first three games.
Pakistan's preparations for the final ODI have been hampered by illness. The virus that rendered Younis Khan unavailable for the third ODI has swept through the team with six or seven of the players currently feeling unwell. The entire squad was given a day off training on Sunday, with Mohsin stating that "they are better than they were, but flu does not go away in a day".
The players are also suffering from homesickness. The security concerns that have prevented Pakistan hosting games in their homeland have left the team spending months living in hotels in the UAE. While the hotels and facilities are excellent, the strain is starting to tell and the high levels of morale that propelled Pakistan through the Test series appear to have ebbed.
"Even our home series are actually away series," Mohsin said. "Pakistani cricketers are coming home for a week or ten days and then going again for a long tour. All possible comforts have been given to the Pakistan team by the UAE administration and that is very good. But nothing can take away homesickness. You can stay in a palace, but [even] if you live in a small two-bedroom house, your home is always home."
"Nothing can take away the players' homesickness. You can stay in a palace, but [even] if you live in a two-bedroom house, your home is always home" Mohsin Khan
It is, perhaps, telling that the standard of Pakistan's fielding has slipped in the ODI series. Fielding often provides a window to the soul of a team and Mohsin is painfully aware that Pakistan have been substantially inferior in that aspect of the game.
"I will not take anything away from England, because they have played some tremendous cricket," he said. "But we should have played much better. We have been giving away 20 to 25 runs away while fielding and England are saving that many. So it easily comes to a difference of 40 to 50 runs. That is a big difference. Especially in one-day cricket where containment is the most important thing.
"Fielding is the most important department in whatever format. And, when you come to the shorter version, it becomes more important because in shorter versions, if we can contain the opposition we have achieved our [goal]. We did not bowl properly, we did not bat properly and we did not field properly. We haven't played to our potential.
"The England batting has slowly and gradually improved. First it was only Cook and Bopara [who batted well] but later on Pietersen did a marvellous job for his team. England are converting small scores into big scores but we are lacking at the moment. Every batsman is trying, but we are struggling at the moment.
"Beating England 3-0 in the Test series is not a joke. That means we played tremendous cricket; hats off to my boys and to my captain. But we have to raise our standards in one-day cricket, too.
"We must be more professional and more aggressive. It is as simple as that. I believe that hard work always pays and if we are lacking in that then we have to improve. We are working hard. We had a decent chat - the team and the management - and we will be definitely be trying our best."
Edited by Alan Gardner