Pakistan’s women team head coach, Sabih Azhar blamed the captain, Sana Mir’s negative attitude and self-centeredness for team’s debacle during the recently concluded Women World Cup 2017.
Sabih Azhar presented a 14 pages report on team’s disastrous performance, which was obtained by ESPNCricinfo. The report can also be seen as the overview of coach’s short 10-week long stint with the women’s team.
According to the coach, Mir failed to give any sort of confidence to the young players in the ranks, instead, she kept praising the opponent players that put the team under pressure.
“The captain was so much negative in her approach that she inculcated fear among other team members during team meetings on number of occasions,” he wrote.
“She used to praise opponent players a lot instead of backing her own players to do well. Eventually, the captain’s negative approach did damage the confidence of our batters and bowlers and they couldn’t play their natural game during matches.”
Moreover, Sana Mir’s selfishness cost the team dearly as she wanted to keep her statistics intact, she did not want any other player to perform better than her.
Coach stated that sometimes big names in the team forget that they have to play for the team, instead they only think about themselves.
“It became clear that the captain Sana Mir is self-centred or self-absorbed; typically she is the last to know it,” the report read. “Her denial to accept self-centredness overshadows her good qualities of confidence and esteem.”
“Too many of our so-called role models, don’t give a hoot about anything except themselves. To them, the ‘team’ is nowhere near as important as the ‘me’. ‘What’s in it for me? I want more playing time. I should be starting instead of them! My average, My stats, My salary, etc.’ Similarly, Sana Mir’s ‘me-whining’ affected the mindset of aspiring young players to understand how important teamwork really is to success and any team game is not about ‘me’, it’s about ‘we’!” he wrote.
He further accused Mir to make selfish decisions on the field and to be jealous of some of her teammates.
“Similarly, the captain selfishly used to bowl herself at such a time during the match when she knew that the batters won’t go after the bowling and her bowling figures won’t be destroyed,” he wrote in the report. “She had a jealousy factor in her mind that what will happen if the other bowler takes a wicket or two and gets an extended spell of bowling,” he added.
On the other hand, Sabir Azhar also took long reigning team manager of the women’s team in his firing range, Ayesha Ashar for favouring senior players like Mir, Javeriya Khan and Nain Abidi and maintaining a cold behaviour with the youngsters in the team.
“The manager was inclined towards three players and sometimes her behaviour with junior players was very cold,” he wrote. “No doubt, maintaining discipline is something which is the foremost job of the manager, but I felt most of the junior players were uncomfortable with the attitude of the manager, who is with the national team for the last nine years,” he further stated.
He recommended that if the mentioned senior players and the team manager kept working with the team, there is no chance for progress.
“My humble view is if the set of these four – three players and manager – continue with the national team, there’s absolutely no chance of players’ growth in the team,” Azhar wrote
He also mentioned in the report that he believed the team is well-prepared and they would have at least won in the opening round of the tournament, but they failed to do so.
“We could have won our opening league match against South Africa before losing narrowly because the girls couldn’t handle the pressure at crucial moments. In the second match against England, our bowlers gave too many runs – 377 – and the match was over before our batters went in,” he wrote.
“Against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, our team once again couldn’t give the finishing touches and lost both games. Overall, I believe we could have won at least three league matches – against South Africa, India and Sri Lanka – but the team lacked finishing approach at crucial junctures which cost us the games,” he added.