Cricket, coaching and camaraderie | Pakistan Today

Cricket, coaching and camaraderie

There was an element of surprise when the second and final Test between Pakistan and Bangladesh stretched to the fifth day but just when the Bangladeshi faithful were becoming confident of snatching a deserving draw, Pakistan inevitably struck through their trusted spinners and the rest became a mere formality. No disrespect to the Bangladeshis but the whole series itself turned out to be a formality as Pakistan whitewashed their opponents across all formats.
Younus Khan won the Man of the Series award courtesy his double hundred in the first test but it would be unfair to single out any one player for praise as everyone at one point or another put their hand up and performed. In doing so, the players ensured that the winning momentum continued ahead of our toughest challenge which will come in the shape of the touring England party. For Bangladesh, the positives were few and far in between; the emergence of Nasir Hossain suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel but they need a few more like him to become competitive.
While on-field activity continued to border on the lacklustre, the main talking points emerged from the off-field incidents. The PCB coach hunt committee, during the course of the series stated that they had decided on its choice for head coach and specialised coaches but would make the announcement after the Bangladesh tour. Dav Whatmore was being tipped as the man to get the head coaching role but Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, announced on December 19 that the committee had not settled on the new coaching staff therefore Mohsin Khan would continue in his interim role as coach. Ejaz Butt may have left the building but confusion still reigns supreme; it was only two weeks ago that Col. Naushad Ali, a member of the said committee and assistant manager of the team had said, “The person we have picked as head coach is very well suited to Pakistan,”. “He is the one who suits the temperament of Pakistan cricket and [that] of its team.” Mohsin Khan, the current interim coach, has also expressed his interest for the position of head coach and this coupled with Col. Naushad’s glaring conflict of interest, one gets the feeling that there is something fishy going on behind the scenes. Reports have emerged that there is both, a pro and anti Mohsin lobby at work. One can only imagine what transpired in those two weeks that forced to committee to back track on their word but given the history, chances are that Pakistan cricket will once again suffer at the hands of people who continue to put their own interests before that of the team.
On a brighter note, Bangladesh has agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012, subject to a security inspection. In a classic case of ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ Bangladesh agreed to tour Pakistan and in turn, the PCB, amongst other fringe benefits, gave their vote of confidence to Mustafa Kamal for the role of ICC President. Zaka Ashraf, who after taking over had stated that bringing cricket back to Pakistan and reconciling with the cricketing boards-who had become disenchanted during Ejaz Butts tenure-was at the forefront of his plans seems to be making good on his promise. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has always been a ‘friend’ of PCB and after this strengthening of ties with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, PCB has consolidated its position amongst the Asian bloc. This is likely to give Pakistan much needed leverage when it negotiates with the other cricketing boards and especially the BCCI who have in the recent past tried to marginalise and ostracise Pakistan cricket.
The repercussions are not just restricted within the sub-continent; if Bangladesh’s tour goes ahead and according to plan, PCB can then look to invite other teams and make sure that cricket is well and truly back in Pakistan.
These are happy times for Pakistan cricket but this is only the beginning and a lot of hard work needs to be put in, both on and off the field to ensure that this successful period continues. Zaka Ashraf has rightfully stated that it is not his job to identify the next coach of Pakistan and that a committee has been formed for this specific matter but it might be best if he were to look into the matter and find out what’s taking the committee so long?



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