“Reputations sometimes can be misleading.”
Peshawar Zalmi’s Assistant Coach Andy Flower responded to the ARY-posed question, “You have a reputation for being strict with the England boys and Shahid Afridi has a reputation for not being coach-dominated, so how easy or difficult is it to get along with him?” with a graceful smile.
To the media’s surprise, he was very lavish in his praise of Zalmi captain Shahid Afridi. He explained that they knew one another since Afridi’s first Champions Trophy and he finds the latter to be someone that others follow. True to his reserved nature, he has observed Shahid Afridi and Head Coach Mohammad Akram avidly and feels that on the work front, their opposing personalities complement one another beautifully.
When asked if he had learnt any Pashto, he showed a humility that has not been evident if one goes by the reporting of the tenacious British press. “My intellectual capacity does not allow me to learn Pashto that quickly. The foreign players feels very welcome as everyone makes an effort to speak in English.”
At the end of the press conference, he added that it feels worthy being associated with a franchise that has included a greater cause than winning a tournament, especially since he feels this initiative reflects the good heartedness of both team owner Javed Afridi and captain Shahid Afridi.
Like all the other foreign players and coaches taking part in the tournament, Andy Flower reiterated the importance of the tournament for youngsters. He said by playing alongside the greats, youngsters will realise that away from the myth, these players are just human beings who are good at cricket.
This is a view shared by Karachi Kings’ Head Coach Mickey Arthur. What came through in both their press conferences, is that both are used to scouting for new talent.
Mickey Arthur singled out Usama Mir, by saying he wished the leggie could play for his home team South Africa. However, his best praise was reserved for, in his words, “future captain Imad Wasim,” a player whose fiery media interactions, are leaving journalists with no doubt that here is a sportsman who means business.
What has been heart-warming for the past week, however, is that the non-Pakistanis participating in the tournament are very supportive of Pakistan’s domestic structure and as professionals, realise that for the tree to survive, its roots must be strong.