Former Pakistan all-rounder and current bowling coach of the national team Azhar Mahmood has applauded the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to curb down the participation of Pakistan players in leagues across the world. Stating that priority must be given to preparations for important tours Mahmood maintained that service to the country takes precedence over all other considerations.
In a coloumn for Pakpassion.net, Mahmood wrote, “We have had some discussions on this topic with the team management, the PCB, as well as Inzamam-ul-Haq to ensure that in the future, we will hold off from giving permission to the players to play in every other league. Priority in such cases must be given to the right type of preparation for any upcoming Pakistan tours as service to our country takes precedence over all other considerations. Of course, we do not want the players to suffer financially by missing out from playing in foreign leagues but that must not happen at the expense of loss of their fitness when it comes to Pakistan games.”
Reflecting on the recently concluded tour to New Zealand, Mahmood opined, “It goes without saying that a 5-0 defeat is a disappointment regardless of whichever format it happens in or who the opposition is. Whilst we lost 6 matches in a row, I was really impressed by the way we fought back in the T20I series. The victory in the T20I series shows the character and mindset of our side which is a huge positive and a very encouraging sign for us. Having said that, it is also important that we must recognize that our batting has always struggled in New Zealand. Our bowlers, some of who were touring New Zealand for the first time, found it tough to adjust to the bowling conditions there. Strong winds were a problem for our bowlers, but I would still give them immense credit for making an effort to adjust to local conditions there.”
Mahmood also called for an improved performance by the batsmen who struggled in New Zealand. Stating that rectifying mistakes is the way forward, Mahmood went on to write, “What we need to focus on is the fact that we made mistakes and we need to work on those problems and reduce those types of problems in the future. We have a tough tour of England coming up where we will play Test matches and after that we have to play against Zimbabwe and South Africa, followed by the 2019 World Cup. All these tours will be in places which will be far different from the Asian or sub-continental conditions we are used to. We will have to do our homework and preparations to make sure that we succeed away from home. Especially, our batsmen will need to think ‘out of the box’ in order to utilize their skills and score runs in overseas conditions.”