LAHORE - Newly appointed Pakistan cricket coach Moin Khan Tuesday urged his players to shrug off "the fear of failure" as they prepare to defend the Asia Cup which starts later this month. Pakistan began a four-day training camp ahead of the competition which starts in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on February 25.
Moin, who replaced Australian Dav Whatmore under whom Pakistan won the Asia Cup in 2012, said the team was gearing up for the title defence. "I hope we will give a good result and defend our title which we won with the same captain, Misbah-ul Haq," he told reporters after the first day of the camp.
Pakistan face Sri Lanka on the opening day of the tournament, which also includes India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. "What I observed in the team was that there has been the fear of failure and that is very important to be taken out," Moin said. "I was the manager and it was a different role but I have benefited from it. After staying with the team, I have seen the technical problems of the players, know their psyche as well. Now I am quite confident that with the tenure I have we will work hard with the players. We should have consistency in team selection so that players serve the nation for eight to 10 years. As such there are not many drastic changes I will instate as Whatmore has done very well. Time management is a very important aspect we have adopted from Dav and we will try to be proactive. I can't say that Pakistan will win every match, but in every match you will see Pakistan putting a good fight."
He has been appointed as coach for the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20, also in Bangladesh in March-April. "I am confident that if my performance is good I will get an extension," said Moin. Moin, who played 69 Tests and 219 one-dayers for Pakistan, praised Whatmore. "Whatmore did very well, although we lost some Test series, but we produced good results in one-day matches and T20 internationals," he said.
India have won the title five times while Sri Lanka won it on four occasions out of eleven events. Pakistan have lifted two Asia Cups till now. The first success came under Moin's captaincy in 2000 and the second under present captain Misbah-ul-Haq in 2012. Since both of them will be traveling to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup, Moin said the current combination is capable of defending the title.
"My task is to win the tournament, you will see a positive attitude and positive body language," Moin said. "I know this team is capable of winning the Asia Cup again. No doubt our bowling has done well as compared to batting but I hope we achieve a balance. We are capable of doing that with new players like Sohaib Maqsood, Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal is at No 6, this combination is very good. The more consistent we will be, it will give more confidence to the players."
Moin was preferred over the more experienced Waqar Younis, but for Moin, not having coached at international level is not a barrier. He was appointed coach for the Asia Cup and the World T20, a move which was criticised by Wasim Akram, who said Moin should have been given a longer tenure to maintain consistency.
"I don't have a problem with the short tenure as head coach, it's all performance related and if the cricket board believes, I will get an extension," Moin said. "If I am not able to get an extension, I do believe that someone good will come and produce good results in the future too. With all due respect I don't have any competition (with Waqar) in my mind but whatever capacity I have, I will do my best to contribute, naturally if players do well it will be considered. Even though we have a blame culture we will try not to develop it in the team." On not considering Younus Khan for the one-day squad, Moin said it was a unanimous decision and not just of the captain or coach. "I can't pinpoint anyone," Moin said. "Whatever we decide, we decide with the combination of the team, we can't pinpoint when it's a unanimous decision. There's no doubt about Younus, but right now we are taking this combination forward and if Younus performs continuously and there's any gap in the team he could easily fill it and make a comeback." The team will fly to Dhaka on February 22.