Legendary fast bowler and former Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis on Thursday said while the ICC Champions Trophy win was a big success for the national team, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs not to be overjoyed about it as there is a lot of work to do to maintain the tempo of success.
Speaking as a guest at the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) here on Thursday, Waqar said: “We should not be overjoyed about the victory in the ICC Champions Trophy. Yes it was a good work done but there is a lot of work to do to maintain that success. The youngsters made an impact in the Champions Trophy and we have to keep them fit and take good care for them to keep performing over a longer time.
“Mickey Arthur is also emphasizing physical fitness. I think a fit team is a key to success and we should persist with this. We should also arrange tours of the Pakistan ‘A’ team and the trainers must ensure that their hard work should have a trickle down effect at the domestic level to provide us with well groomed, skillful players for the national team,” Waqar emphasised.
He said good things were happening in Pakistan cricket since the international cricket was coming back with the visits of the World XI, Sri Lanka and the West Indies this year. “The absence of any international cricket in Pakistan has severely hit our cricket over the years, but hopefully with the passage of time, other countries like England, Australia and South Africa would also come to Pakistan,” he said.
Waqar also lauded the induction of many youngsters into the national team. “Quite a few youngsters got the chance to represent the country the in the ICC Champions Trophy and they sure cashed in on it which is a great sign,” he said. “These youngsters definitely deserved the chances after the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi.”
He explained that since the now retired trio of seniors were integral part of the national teams during his coaching tenure, not many youngsters could get chances to play for the national team. He admitted that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) had played a key role in grooming of youngsters and in the future, the PSL would serve Pakistan cricket even better.
Replying to a question about the latest issue of Umar Akmal’s bust-up with head coach Arthur, Waqar advised the PCB not to form any inquiry committee but give the middle-order batsman a rehab programme to play domestic cricket and train for six months to a year and then comeback to top level cricket with full fitness and form.
“I sometimes feel pity for Umar and feel sad for him because he has abundance of talent, but he does not concentrate on his fitness and also does not perform consistently and that hs affected his career,” observed Waqar. “The current issue between Umar and Arthur should be sorted out with mutual understanding, and there is no need for any inquiry.”
Waqar said he did not believe that Arthur had abused Umar intentionally, but as a father figure said a few things. “Every coach could be a bit harsh with the players but only for their own benefit,” he said. “Umar’s father has also admonished his son at times, so this is not a big matter. It also seems that frustration has caught up with Umar because he is not getting chances to play international cricket.”
He said though he came to Pakistan seeking an assignment with the newly-inducted PSL outfit Multan Sultans, he could not succeed. However, the former captain said he would always remain associated with the game of cricket as it was his bread and butter and big passion.
Commenting on the deterioration in pacer Wahab Riaz’s performance, Waqar said: “Yes he could not perform consistently but only in patches. But he should not lose heart because both Mohammad Aamir and Junaid Khan have staged comebacks and Umar Gul also has had a long international career. Fitness is the key here too.”
To a question, Waqar said it was unfortunate that spot-fixing incidents happened in the PSL and suggested the PCB to increase the match fees of domestic players in order to keep them away from dirty practices.
Speaking about neglected middle-order batsman Fawad Alam, Waqar said: “Fawad has been around for a while but since there were players like Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali in the middle order, he could not find a place in the national team.”