KARACHI: Citing Prime Minister Imran Khan’s phenomenal cricket record and his sincerity and deep insight into the game, former Pakistan cricketer and highly qualified psychologist Moin-ul-Atiq believes the country can expect rapid progress in the game with the World Cup-winning skipper at the helm of country’s affairs.
“Imran, himself a World Cup-winning captain, is an exceptional sportsman. Moreover, his strong decision-making capability and honest approach, particularly towards cricket, can surely help bring significant improvement in Pakistan cricket which is loaded with raw talent,” Moin said while talking to Dawn on Monday.
“During his playing days, Imran was absolutely unbiased in picking his final XI, and no wonder he and his men achieved magnificent results against top-class opponents under toughest of circumstances,” said the 54-year-old Moin who holds a Masters degree in sports management from the UK.
The former right-handed batsman featured in five ODIs for Pakistan from 1988 to 1989, when Imran was national captain, and worked with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as psychologist-cum-motivational speaker from 2012 to 2013.
Moin firmly believes that positive mental approach is the key to success. “Positive mental approach is vital for a satisfied life. And if one wants to succeed in cut-throat international sports contests, positivity is a pre-requisite. And no doubt cricket is a mind game requiring best mental response from players at the right time,” said Moin who has conducted a number of workshops for Pakistani players in different sports, including cricket.
And now with Imran as the country’s new PM, Moin says Pakistan can expect better show in sports including cricket, “Imran is a practical man, possessing a no-nonsense personality. I have played international cricket under his captaincy and know the ins and outs of his ways to deal with difficult situations. Moreover, he believes in merit, appreciates talented and daring players who take initiative and compete without fear. All these features can surely help Pakistan sports, particularly our cricket, which definitely has room for improvement,” added Moin.
“Yes, we won the ICC Champions Trophy out of nowhere last year and after that Pakistan in limited-overs games [ODIs and T20s] have improved with the arrival of young talented players like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Babar Azam. However, our Test team surprisingly lost the series 2-0 against a toothless Sri Lanka in the UAE while early this year, after winning the first Test with a fairly young bunch of players against England in their backyard, we lost the second Test by an innings,” he remarked.
“Why did that happen? Because there is fairly less emphasis on the mental side of the game, as is the case generally prevailing in our society. Consistency comes gradually with hard focus which requires constant work [through counselling], which unfortunately is not practised in our sports culture,” he regretted.
“For complete success one’s mind should synchronise with the body. And if that is not the case then there will be haphazard results and collapses in crisis situations due to fear-of-loss factor.”
Moin feels Pakistan can win the 2019 World Cup in England if some essential ingredients are introduced by the game’s authority, the PCB.
“If merit, proper planning backed by strong mental development programmes for our cricketers are adopted by the PCB think-tank, then surely Sarfraz Ahmed and his men can do wonders in the mega event,” Moin concluded.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018