KARACHI: Former Pakistan Chief Selector Aamer Sohail believes that the batsmen have improved little in terms of technique, under batting coach Grant Flower. Sohail — who represented Pakistan in 47 Tests and 156 ODIs — is concerned about the persistent problems Pakistan’s batting lineup faces on the field.
“Grant Flower’s presence and vast experience as batting coach in the Pakistan set-up should been reflected in better performances of the players,” said Sohail. “Unfortunately, I haven’t seen that happening even though he has been with the Pakistan side for a long time now. I have not seen any improvement in the Pakistani batsmen with Grant Flower as batting coach. What we should be seeing improving among our players is the technique and the basics of the game with his guidance but that has not been the case and is a cause of concern for me.”
Shan Masood was one of the bright spots during the recently concluded Test series against South Africa — which Pakistan lost three-nil — something which impressed Sohail. “To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to see Shan Masood perform so well in the Test series against South Africa. What was really impressive from Shan was the amount of work he had put in which has really helped him improve his technique as we saw in all three matches that he played in the Test series,” he said. “It was obvious to me that he was better prepared for this series than many others and he knew exactly what he had to do and that is why he kept on meeting success in South Africa and it’s quite possible that staying away from some of Pakistan’s coaches really helped his cause.”
Speaking about leg-spinner Yasir Shah — who was only able to claim one wicket during the first Two Tests against South Africa — Sohail said that a change in approach was required with regards to his bowling.
“If Yasir Shah was to be played in the Test series in South Africa, then the team management should have known how best to utilize him. We all know that Yasir has struggled in Australia and in away conditions in general, so why has he not been spoken to and asked to fix his issues?,” he said. “He has over 200 Test match wickets and so is not lacking in skills or talent. A change in approach was needed in South Africa for Yasir to be successful. In those conditions, you need to bowl with a different line, length and angle.”
He also backed senior middle-order batsmen Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali by stating: “There has been a lot of criticism regarding Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq and their place in the team is now being questioned. My view is that the best players in the world go through bad times and struggle from series to series, but you have to stick with your experienced players.”
While talking about the upcoming five-match ODI series against the Proteas, Sohail said that it is important for Pakistan to post 250 plus runs on the board in order to succeed.
“For Pakistan to do well in this series, they will need to aim to score at the least 250 or above,” he said. “The Pakistan side should not be thinking about scoring 300s in ODIs but instead, should be aiming for 250 and then hope to defend them during this ODI series through some good bowling.”