LAHORE - Pakistan new batting coach Grant Flower assumed his role on Friday saying that improving the team’s faltering hitters would be a ‘challenge’ for him.
Flower, 43-year-old, joined the national team on a two-year contract after a successful coaching stint with his native Zimbabwe which ended in 2012. His task is to improve Pakistan’s fortunes at the crease which have flopped recently, most notably last year’s 3-0 Test whitewash against South Africa when they were bowled out for just 49.
Talking to the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium, Flower said: “I like to bring a significant change in Pakistan’s batting otherwise I would not have come here. We all know how talented the players are and I rate them high. But maybe sometimes they don’t get the most out of their talent and I am here to coach them.”
The younger brother of accomplished Zimbabwean batsman Andy, who coached England until last year, said he would not have taken the job if he didn’t think he could make a difference. “The challenge of being in a different place brought me here,” he said and added: “I have given a lot to Zimbabwe cricket but I think it’s time to move on, develop my own coaching career and evolve as person.”
Flower stated that he understood the challenges ahead of him, one of which was fine-tuning the batsmen’s skills without compromising on their natural game. “The team has a very good blend of experience with the senior batsmen and then there are some talented players coming through. But obviously I will have to treat each individual differently and this is what I am learning. I do know some of the players and their constraints as well and the areas where I need to work on.”
“One of the best things about Pakistan’s batting is their flair and I never want to take it out from any of them. So, maybe it’s just about fine-tuning and getting them to play with more consistency but I’ve still got to learn more about the players and their games,” he added.
The trend of appointing foreign coaches in Pakistan has always attracted criticism from former cricketers and when asked if this could distract him he said: “Definitely, I’ve also got a lot of respect for the big names in the country as they have done so much for Pakistan cricket. I will be lying if I say I won’t be under pressure but its part of the job which you get paid for and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
“I am looking forward to convincing talented batsmen like Umar Akmal and Afridi to leave their habit of playing in a hurry and ask them to use their batting skills more significantly for the team. I have seen them throw away good starts because of their hurried approach. I know they can be so much more dangerous if they curb their habit and remain at the crease,” he added. Flowers stint starts in earnest on next month’s tour of Sri Lanka when he teams up with new head coach Waqar Younis. Flower played 67 Tests and 221 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe.
Sharing his views, fielding coach Grant Luden said that he had brought fresh ideas with him and he would try his best to bring improvement in fielding department.
He said that his main objective would be to know psychology of the players and to know them and find out the ways how to improve them. “I hope with my fresh and new ideas, I will be able to improve their fielding and train them well during the camp,” he added.
Pakistan will play two Tests and three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Pakistan team training camp for Sri Lanka Tour commenced here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. Test players along with the team management have attended the camp while the ODI players’ camp will be held later. The camp will continue till July 26 here at the Gaddafi Stadium as well as the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
Apart from training, the players will also take part in match situation scenarios. The camp is being supervised by head coach Waqar Younis and also attended by new batting and fielding coaches.