Zaheer wants to become Pakistan batting coach

Zaheer Abbas believes Pakistan has not produced a batsman of outstanding merit in last 10-15 years. Getty Images

Karachi: May 8, 2011

Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas has expressed his desire to become the batting coach of the national team following its inconsistent performance in the just concluded ODI series against the West Indies in the Caribbean.

The ‘Asian Bradman’ said he is ready to take up the job if he gets an offer from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “I am ready to be the batting coach and I am available but the final decision rests with the board. If they ask me, I am available,” Zaheer told PTI.

The run-machine lamented the lack of temperament and grafting skills among the younger batsmen in the Pakistan team and said while the country had produced numerous quality fast bowlers and spinners, the batting cupboard was bare.

“Barring few exceptions in the last 10-15 years, we have not produced a batsman of outstanding merit and that is a serious problem for us,” he said. The PCB is seriously considering hiring a batting coach for the national team after constant batting collapses in recent times.

In the final one-dayer against the West Indies, Pakistan were bowled out for 139 runs against a weakened West Indies team and lost the match. After taking an unassailable lead of 3-0, Pakistan lost the last couple of matches without putting up much fight.

Pakistan’s captain, Shahid Afridi and coach, Waqar Younis have both called on the PCB to appoint a full-time batting coach. Initially the post was offered to former captain Javed Miandad before the commencement of the West Indies tour, but he turned down the offer.

Zaheer said that Pakistan cricket would continue to struggle as long as the batsmen don’t have the temperament to play a big innings or last long. “The real test comes in five-day match that is when you can judge a batsman’s ability properly, but I think even in one-day matches quality batsmen never let a chance go to score a hundred and that is lacking in our team,” Zaheer added.

The stylish batsman, who scored hundred first class centuries, reckoned that Pakistan needed a batting and fielding coach immediately. “We have Waqar and Aaqib Javed on the coaching panel and both are bowlers so how can one expect them to work with the batsmen. Who will take care of the batsmen if they have any problems,” he said.

Zaheer said during his playing days, he always sought the advice of senior players whenever he faced technical problem.

“Even after I retired, there were so many players who came to me for advice on little things and when they work on it, they became better players. Unfortunately in our current cricket culture, there is no practice of the younger players coming to former players for any assistance or advice,” he said.

Asked about the upcoming batsmen in Pakistan, the former great said they all needed to learn to stay at the wicket for longer period. “If you want to score a century you need to bat for at least three to four hours but if you are a bowler you can get three wickets in one over. What I have seen in recent times is that our batsmen scored inconsistently because they don’t try to stay at the wicket for a long time.”

He also pointed out that the advent of Twenty20 cricket had also affected the temperament of young batsmen, who now wanted to play aggressively from the onset. “A few wham bang innings will never make you a top batsman. You need to score centuries that is why Sachin Tendulkar is great.”