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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Great feeling to be back in cricket gear: Miandad

miandad afridi afp543 Great feeling to be back in cricket gear: Miandad
Pakistani team batting consultant Javed Miandad (R) gives tips to cricketer
 Shahid Afridi during a training session in Lahore on December 8, 2010.
LAHORE: As former Test captain Javed Miandad joined the national team as batting consultant on the first day of the training camp here on Wednesday, manager Intikhab Alam hoped valuable guidance from the legendary player would help batsmen hone their skills for the upcoming World Cup.
Miandad gave some useful tips to both Test and limited-overs captains — Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi — at the camp, which started at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday for the forthcoming tour of New Zealand.
The tour comprising three Twenty20 Internationals, two Test matches and six One-day Internationals starts from Dec 18.
Miandad, who has been appointed as batting consultant for the tour, could not attend the first session of the camp in the morning, but appeared in the afternoon to reach out to Misbah and Afridi, besides interacting with talented young batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.
The 53-year-old Miandad, a veteran of 124 Tests and 233 One-day Internationals, was seen spending half an hour in telling Misbah and Afridi finer points of the trade. Noting the flaws of both captains, Miandad guided them how they could remove those to enhance their batting skills.
Miandad has coached the national side on three different occasions in the past. The last time he was coach in 2004, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) asked him to step down after a home series defeat against India.
Though Miandad, regarded as one of the finest tacticians in the game of cricket, was also spotted making efforts to improve the players’ fielding, Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam said the iconic player had been given the assignment of batting consultant.
Meanwhile, Intikhab said Miandad’s presence at the camp and his tips would be very useful for the batsmen.
“I welcome Miandad in the camp and the first day’s proceedings [at the camp] remained quite satisfactory,” Intikhab stated.
As Miandad is bound to work under head coach Waqar Younis, the former great batsman had objected to this term of the contract, considering himself senior pro to the head coach. It has been reported that Miandad could have rejected the new assignment for the same reason as Waqar was also not comfortable with him.
However, Intikhab dispelled the impression that there were any issues between Miandad and Waqar — the two great players of their era.
“There is nothing wrong and Miandad attended the camp with a positive frame of mind and there are no such issues,” insisted Intikhab.
The manager noted that the tour of New Zealand was crucial for the boys to judge their potential before the World Cup.
He added the New Zealand series would also help the selectors pick the best possible combination for the upcoming World Cup starting on Feb 19.
Intikhab emphasised it was the best time for Pakistan to beat New Zealand on their home soil, since their confidence would be down after losing the ODI series to lowly-rated Bangladesh and India recently.
“On the other hand, Pakistan team’s morale is high after forcing draw in the two-Test series against world No 2 South Africa in the UAE,” the manager reckoned.
Though, he admitted that local playing conditions would help the Kiwis.
Intikhab said the main focus at the camp was to improve the players’ physical fitness level, which was low compared to other international teams, adding excellent fitness level makes players remain competitive throughout the contest.
All the players — selected for the three Twenty20 games and two Test matches in New Zealand — attended the camp on Wednesday.
Agencies add: Intikhab said the camp is the final phase of Pakistan’s preparation and Miandad’s involvement would be a boost.
“It’s a great chance for the youngsters to get useful training from Miandad in this final phase of our training for the World Cup,” Intikhab said.
Miandad, meanwhile, said he was happy to help batsmen ahead of the event.
Pakistan crashed out of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and the 2007 tournament in the West Indies in the first round, mainly because of batting failures.
“I am always ready to help the Pakistan team in any way because Pakistan cricket has given me a lot. I hope that they improve their batting and achieve better results in the World Cup,” said Miandad, whose batting helped Pakistan clinch their only World Cup title in Australia in 1992.
“It is a great feeling to be back in cricket gear. Coaching has always been a passion for me and anyway I can help our players,” Miandad added.
Miandad said he had agreed to work with the players so that the batsmen could further polish their skills.
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