“Players are lacking the pride and passion to play for their country”, says Mahmood

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Azhar Mahmood, who was the bowling coach of Pakistan during the World T20 campaign, wrote a blog on a website, where he mentioned the problems that Pakistan cricket team is currently going through and he also put forward some suggestions for the betterment of the game in Pakistan.

First of all, Azhar Mahmood, clearly illustrated that the problems lie much deeper than it seems. He wrote that Waqar Younis’ resignation will not do any good to Pakistan cricket until the fundamental problems faced by Pakistan cricket are addressed.

Like many others, the former allrounder of Pakistan pointed towards the vulnerable domestic structure of Pakistan. According to Mahmood, the system has quantity, but, lacks quality. There are way too many teams, which are making way for below par players that is eventually hurting Pakistan cricket. He believes that when a player comes up to the highest level, he should only be tuned by coaches to be a star, but, in Pakistan’s structure, players need to be addressed basics like training and their diet.

As Waqar Younis’ report revealed, one of the main causes of Pakistan’s debacle in the Asia Cup and the World T20, is poor fitness of players. Azhar Mahmood claimed that Pakistani players’ fitness is at least five years back than the kind of fitness other international players are having at the moment. He put Imran Tahir as an example that Cricket South Africa forced him to attain a certain level of fitness to play for the national team and the result is in front of the world.

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Mahmood suggested that the board needs to identify players with potential leadership skills and give them captaincy at the domestic level. This is how Pakistan can raise some good captains, give them the responsibility and track their performance. You can choose a captain for your national side from one of them.

Azhar Mahmood, who has qualified to play for England, said there should be coach’s and captain’s opinion in selection. Selection committee cannot operate in complete isolation.

The veteran Pakistani allrounder urged the board to give a proper run to players. He confessed that he has seen fear of being dropped in players for the next assignment of the national team. Mahmood quoted Iftikhar Ahmed’s example that he was picked for a match and dropped later on when he didn’t even bat in that particular match. This kind of treatment shatters one’s confidence.

Azhar Mahmood penned down an interesting reason of Pakistan’s failure. He revealed that there is lack of trust among players for other players, coaches and the board. He said if a player gets dropped, he takes it personally that either captain or the coach has some personal grudge against him. Mahmood claimed every player at the moment is playing for his own position, instead of the team and this is due to the lack of trust they are having. Azhar Mahmood asked the board to address this serious issue that no one is pointing.

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The forty one year old allrounder rubbished off all the reports of grouping in the team. He said there is no truth in these reports. He told the bitter fact that Pakistan team wasn’t good enough to win those tournaments.

As Waqar Younis was crossed with the leakage of his confidential report, Azhar Mahmood also dragged the issue saying whatever was talked during team meetings, was conveyed to the media, which was distressing. Mahmood urges that PCB should add a clause in the central contract regarding the confidentiality of information.

Players are lacking the pride and passion to play for their country. Some of the players are not willing to go an extra mile to improve their game, they are just in their comfort zone and they don’t want to come out of it. Mahmood hailed the efforts and passion of Pakistan women’s team, he said Girls in Green played with passion and pride that was reflected from the cricket they played.

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Azhar Mahmood praised Mohammad Amir that he is hard working, he wants to prove a point, which is why he was Pakistan’s best pacer five years ago and still the best pacer for the Men in Green. Other bowlers are not ready to learn, they are not doing anything for the past five years, coaches can only tell the plans, but, it has to be executed by the bowlers in the field. Mahmood expressed his frustration saying coaches cannot come in the field and bowl, it is bowlers’ job and they are not doing it properly.

After Waqar Younis, Azhar Mahmood also slammed the ones who accused him for taking the job of coaching just for the sake of money. The experienced allrounder stated that he could have made more money during the World T20 campaign just by being on TV. He expressed his love for the country and said he wants Pakistan to be at the top of all the formats of the game.

Azhar Mahmood has asked the board to improve the work ethics for the players; they need to be more serious towards practice and training. He also suggested hiring a psychologist to help players to improve their mental strength.

Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi(R) walks with teammates during a training session at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on March 13, 2016, ahead of the World T20 cricket tournament. / AFP / Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Azhar Mahmood has asked the board to improve the work ethics for the players; they need to be more serious towards practice and training. He also suggested hiring a psychologist to help players to improve their mental strength.

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