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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pak greats advise batsmen to stand up and deliver against the Windies

Former Pakistan batting greats have called on the national team to stand up and show more maturity in the batting department in the second Test against the West Indies starting Friday, if the visitors wish to level the two-match series.

Pakistan failed to put up a encouraging batting display in the low-scoring first Test at Guyana, which they lost by 40 runs against the West Indies.

"I think our batsmen struggle when the ball is doing a little bit and swinging around," former captain Hanif Mohammad said.

Chasing 219 to win the first Test, Pakistan were bowled out for 178 in the second innings midway into the fourth day with the West Indies captain Darren Sammy claiming five wickets for 29 at the Providence Stadium.

Hanif said the Pakistani batsmen need to realise that Test cricket was all about patience and application. "Our batsmen need to know when to play on the back foot and when to go on the front foot.

"I think many of the batsmen nowadays have this problem of adjusting between limited overs cricket and Test matches. But our batsmen have always struggled against swing bowling," he said.

Pakistan's highest run-scorer in Tests, Javed Miandad felt the batsmen needed to adjust their game according to the situation.

"It is all about personal application and the will to do well. You can't bat with the same approach that you have in limited overs cricket and that is the mistake our batsmen are making these days," he opined.

Miandad was offered the position of batting coach with the team before the start of the West Indies tour after Pakistan lost in the semi final of the World Cup.

But he refused to take up the assignment on full-time basis because of personal commitments.

The former great also insisted that there is no need for coaching a batsman at the international level.

Miandad, a former captain, noted that to play consistently well at the highest level, a batsman need to work on his technical weaknesses.

"All the greats have had one thing in common, they have spent hours in the net," he said.

Another ex-skipper Zaheer Abbas, who earned the sobriquet of 'Asian Bradman' because of his run-scoring feats, said he was disappointed at the way the Pakistani batsmen had catapulted in the first Test against the West Indies.

"No doubt the pitch was a bit dicey and double paced but at this level you are expected to adjust your technique accordingly. I thought 219 was gettable on the last two days of the match," he said.

Zaheer, who has offered to become batting coach of the team, said in the last match of the tour the batsmen needed to focus on staying at the wicket.

"Once you stay at the wicket everything falls into place. But one problem our batsmen have is they are not converting good starts into centuries," he noted.

He pointed out that in the last 12 months only one batsman had scored a Test century (Younis Khan against South Africa in Dubai) and that was an area of concern.

Pakistan's former coach, Mudassar Nazar believed the loss in the first Test was more or less expected as any team batting in the fourth innings would have suffered.

But Nazar felt that the batsmen should have shown more application and concentration against the West Indies bowlers, who got majority of wickets with reverse swinging deliveries.

"The only thing lacking in our team is consistency but some of the younger players have made good starts to their careers and they should build on it," he said.

Former captain and ex-chief selector, Aamir Sohail said Pakistan's batting would always lack consistency until steps were taken at the grass root level to educate and coach the players properly without tinkering with their natural talent.
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