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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan cricket team’s head coach Mickey Arthur on Thursday said fast bowler Sohail Khan is ten years too late and chances of him making a comeback into the national team are very slim.

Speaking to Dawn News, the South African-born coach said he enjoys good relations with Sohail and there are no differences between them as insinuated by a section of the media. “I and Sohail enjoy good relations and I admire the hard work Sohail has been doing,” said Arthur. “He has altered his mindset and has been bowling well.”

“But I keep telling him that he is 34-years-old now while we have got many younger players who are playing really good cricket at 23 and 24 years of age. Unfortunately, that is the harsh truth,” he said.

Arthur further said that Sohail has been fantastic and and making good effort in all formats of the game, but he is a bit late for the national team selection now. “The systems might have failed him long ago, but if ten years ago he had done what he is doing right now, then who knows how big an international player he would have become,” he said.

The head coach also talked about one of Pakistan’s fittest players, Fawad Alam, who was also invited to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recently to display his skills. “It was good to have Fawad at NCA. We got to know about his fitness for the longer format,” said Arthur.

“We put him through some good net sessions, it was an opportunity for us to see him play and see his skills and know what he is about,” he said. “We had a look at his techniques to see how many pulls and how many types of strokes he has.”

He added that 32-year-old Fawad needs to keep doing what he is doing and that is to keep scoring runs and pushing boundaries in terms of runs to make himself noticeable in the eyes of selectors.

The head coach, who recently had a feather in his cap when the Pakistan team became the top T20 team in the world, said that the team’s achievement is something to cheer about but he will not allow the players to get into a comfort zone. “We want to see the players getting better and improving all the time, we want to make sure every individual lifts his performance so we don’t want the the players to get into a comfort zone,” he said.

“Our T20 team is doing well and I think our ODI team is quiet decent too,” said Arthur. “Our test team was also on top but after Misbah and Younis left, its performance dropped and we could not do well against Sri Lanka. So now we need to work harder to get back that position in Test cricket too,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2017