A tough task for Younis

November 22, 2020

Appointed as full-time batting coach, the master batsman will have to work very hard to improve youngsters’ technique

A person who holds the hand of a raw but talented youngster and takes him to the top of his profession is called a teacher or a coach. It applies to all fields and when we think about cricket, it is evident that the role of a good coach is absolutely unquestionable.

With command on teaching, a coach should also be lucky enough to have great players to win matches. A highly qualified coach could lose his job because of a lack of player talent, luck, or other circumstances beyond his control.

A good coach knows how to handle each and every player individually, with great knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses.

These days coaching has become a professional job with handsome earning and fame, but sometimes it can be very frustrating.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed former captain Younis Khan as full-time batting coach until the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup. His contract could be extended till the 2023 50-over World Cup.

He served Pakistan cricket team as batting consultant for the England tour in June this year.

This time Younis will also be responsible to run the Batsmen Development Programme at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi.

Younis is the most successful Test batsman of Pakistan with 10,099 runs in 118 Tests, including a career-best 313. He also became world number one batsman in the ICC rankings. He also led Pakistan to their maiden T20 World Cup triumph in 2009.

The PCB management had long been trying to give Younis a responsibility in the coaching department, but every time talks remained unfruitful due to different reasons. But this time, finally Younis accepted the PCB offer.

Is changing the coach enough to improve the performance of the team? Obviously not. Domestic cricket structure, players’ power, fitness problems, weak captains are the issues that also need attention.

Former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus during his term said that coaching the Green-shirts was one of the toughest jobs in international cricket. He rated Pakistani players among the most talented but at the same time said they were really hard to manage.

It will be a really tough task for Younis to lift the sixth-ranked ODI side, which suffers from fitness problems.

PCB is confident that under Younis Pakistan will get back their lost glory. Younis himself is positive.

“I am pleased to join the Pakistan cricket set-up on a long-term basis,” Younis said. “I felt honoured when I was given the opportunity this summer and thoroughly enjoyed my time, and I now look forward to continuing the work with the same group of people on an important tour of New Zealand. I am particularly happy that my scope of work has been extended beyond the national duties.”

Younis must change the batting style of Pakistani batsmen who lack the ability to show aggression in power-play and keep wickets in hand for the death overs. The new coach should shortlist players who have the flexibility to play the modern game for a long period.

His immediate assignment now will be to assist the team’s head coach Misbah-ul-Haq in New Zealand, where Pakistan are scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests.

The conditions there will challenge the Pakistan players, especially batsmen. Except skipper Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez, our batsmen have little experience of playing on pacer-friendly tracks.

Our players are inconsistent and are prone to throwing away their wickets in crunch situations. In the absence of senior players like Asad Shafiq and Shoaib Malik, coach Younis has little time to groom youngsters before the New Zealand series.

Pakistan batsmen have always faced tough challenges in New Zealand. In conditions favouring fast bowlers, they never feel comfortable. Most of Pakistan’s defeats occur because of the failures of the batsmen. During the tour of New Zealand in 2017-18, Pakistan lost all five ODIs.

The main reason for these failures is that the Board never provides the opportunity to domestic players to play their trophy matches on fast and grassy tracks. Every country prepares its pitches according to its team’s strengths, but Pakistan is most unfortunate in that it doesn’t utilise its strength according to its cricketing capabilities.

Batsmen who score record numbers of runs and take wickets regularly in domestic cricket fail to deliver the goods when chances are provided to them at the international level.

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A tough task for Younis Khan