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Pakistan A cricketers flew home yesterday having completed a successful tour of Sri Lanka and coach cum manager Mudassar Nazar was confident that the charges under him, who were all players drawn from the national academy, would in the near future provide the quality to the national team.
We want to be a world power in cricket and we want to compete with Australia and South Africa. We see them as the two leading teams in world cricket, said Mudassar.
These countries have all these facilities available and it is asking an awful lot from your players to compete against them and not give them the same facilities, he said.
Mudassar said the academies, a brainchild of the present chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), General Tauqir Zia, were formed with the intention of bringing Pakistan on par with other top cricketing nations like Australia and South Africa.
We hope the national academy will play a leading role in the development of our cricketers. It was formed only three months ago and we dont know as yet what benefits we can get out of it. We have a very advanced system ourselves. I am hopeful that through the academy, we will be able to deliver more and more quality players to the national team, said Mudassar, who is the head of the academies.
Apart from a national academy, Pakistan also have a junior academy and three regional academies.
Mudassar said that it was imperative to have frequent A tours and added: I would go as far as saying we should hold a mini World Cup amongst the A teams of all Test-playing countries.
It is imperative that we should give all our youngsters a chance to play in the Test matches in foreign conditions so that when they come into the national Test team they are not under pressure as now, said Mudassar.
He said Test and one-day internationals were important at this level because all international tours have both types of games in the itinerary.
One-day cricket has taken the game to a different dimension and there is a lot of interest. There is a certain skill you need to play that game, said Mudassar.
One of the main reasons why we undertook this tour, was to see where we stand with our players. The tour brought out the players who were mentally tough and who were incapable of coming through for the time being, anyway. You have to work on those who didnt come through, he said.
Commenting on the recently concluded Test and one-day series between Sri Lanka A and Pakistan A, Mudassar said that the bowling on both sides had been outstanding, but the batting was a little disappointing.
I think I blame my batsmen, but at the same time a lot of credit should go to the Sri Lankan captain Tilan Samaraweera. He exploited our weakness against off-spin, said Mudassar.
His off-spin was very good, he exploited Pakistan in every game. If he had been a little more adventurous, I think he would have had far greater success against our players, he said.
Mudassar said the most outstanding Sri Lankan player was Michael Vandort.
He had a good series, and he could have got more runs because he did get a start in almost every innings. I like his batting, he said.
The other guy who caught my eye was Suresh Perera. His hitting was very intelligent towards the end of the game. He hit em straight which is very good. In bowling, he has the uncanny knack of taking wickets which makes him an ideal player for one-day cricket, Mudassar said.
From Pakistans side Mudassar said he admired Azam Hussains courage.
He hadnt played on this tour and a lot of games in Pakistan either in the recent past. We threw him straight into the one-day game and he has come good. His bowling has been fantastic under pressure, said Mudassar.
Faisal Naveed showed a whole a lot of character. He collected a pair in the first Test match, but since then his form has been encouraging. Hasan Raza scored two hundred and a fifty in the Test series and I found that he is the best spin ball player in Pakistan. Yasir Arafat has come through. He bowled intelligently throughout the series. Irfan Fazil and Danish Kaneria were the pick of the bowlers. Both have been outstanding and also bowled really well under pressure. There were times when we played one bowler less in the first game, and these two guys really held out bowling together. I took a lot of strength from that, he said.
Mudassar said the Sri Lanka cricket management should take a lot of credit for the hospitality shown to them on and off the field. Its been absolutely fantastic, he said.
Pakistan A led by Raza won the three-match Test series 1-0 (2 drawn) and drew the three-match one-day series 1-all (1 no result).