Master batsman Younis Khan named Pakistan’s batting coach for England tour

Published June 10, 2020
YOUNIS Khan ... the stalwart faces a fresh challenge.
YOUNIS Khan ... the stalwart faces a fresh challenge.

LAHORE: Pakistan’s most prolific Test middle-order batsman Younis Khan and wrist spinner Mushtaq Ahmad have been appointed as batting and spin bowling coaches respectively for the next month’s tour of England, the PCB announced on Tuesday.

However, the timing of the appointment of both the coaches is a bit surprising. One wonders what was the real hurry since the PCB is yet to seek the permission of the tour from the government.

Younis’s appointment is no doubt a good move and will benefit the national team since the current lot of Pakistani batsmen need a boost and definite guidance from an experienced player which is likely to be provided by the high profile right-hander.

It is also a bit puzzling that when head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq is already acting as batting coach, why has the board felt the need to appoint Youins.

Leggie Mushtaq Ahmed to be spin bowling coach

It could be that either Misbah has not been able to bring much improvement in the batting techniques and approach of the batsmen or he has started feeling the burden of his three jobs.

Earlier, the PCB has also failed to set up a bio-secure environment at the National Cricket Academy to hold the training camp for the tour of England. It has the plan to hold the training camp by June 10 but so far no solid information in this regard has come out.

When asked, a PCB spokesman said that the tour of England was confirmed and only the itinerary had to be finalized.

To a question whether the PCB had sought the government’s permission for the tour which is necessary in the back drop of the Covid-19, the spokesman said the PCB would approach the government after getting the full itinerary.

Meanwhile, the PCB issued a press statement over the appointment of Younis and Mushtaq which said: “Pakistan’s most successful Test batsman and former captain Younis Khan has been appointed as the men’s national team batting coach for the upcoming tour of England, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced today.

“In addition to Younis, the PCB has also appointed wrist spinner and a veteran of 52 Tests Mushtaq Ahmed as the team’s spin bowling coach and mentor for the three-Test and three-T20Is series, which will be played in August-September. The pre-series and series details will be announced in due course.

“The appointments have been made to provide head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and fast bowling coach Waqar Younis the necessary and essential resources that can help them further uplift the performance of the side.

“Furthermore, and as part of the tour arrangement, additional players will be sent to England, which makes it even more important to have equally capable coaches to provide best training and preparation opportunities to the players.

Younis, 42, is the highest Test run-scorer in Pakistan Test history, aggregating 10,099 runs at an impressive average of 52 in 118 Tests, spanning from 2000 to 2017. This include a career-best 313 against Sri Lanka in Karachi in 2009 which lifted him to No.1 position in the ICC rankings.

Against England, Younis aggregated 810 runs and averages over 50 with two centuries at The Oval and at Headingley, besides scoring three half-centuries.

With 139 catches in Tests, Younis cemented himself as the best Pakistan fielder ever and is 13th overall in the history of the game.

Younis also played a season with Yorkshire in the 2007 English County Championship in which he amassed 824 runs in 13 matches at an average of 48.47.

“For me, there has never been a bigger honour and a better feeling than to represent my country and I feel privileged to have been again offered the opportunity to serve it for a challenging but exciting tour of England,” said Younis on Tuesday.

“The Pakistan side includes some immensely talented cricketers who have the potential to achieve greater heights. Together with Misbah-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Waqar Younis, we will try to make them better and prepare them as best as we can with on and off field coaching and guidance.

“I have never been shy of sharing my experiences and knowledge and I think this particular tour provides me with an ideal opportunity where I can spend post-training time with the players to engage with them on batting techniques, bowler assessments, mental toughness exercises besides talking them through with scenario planning.

“We all know English conditions demand not only precise technique but patience and discipline, and if you can master these, then you will not only excel in England but anywhere in the world. With the quality we have in the team, I think we have a good chance to produce good results if we prepare properly, get our processes right and hit the ground running as soon as we land,” he concluded.

Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq said: “I welcome Younis Khan and look forward to reuniting with him in Pakistan colours as our cricket careers have almost run concurrently. We know each other better than most think as we have worked hand in glove in the past decade to contribute in some of Pakistan’s most historic and memorable Test wins.

“When I took over the captaincy during a difficult period in 2010, Younis proved to be a great ally and support, and I am confident he will provide similar assistance as we head to England with a clear objective of putting Pakistan cricket back on the road to success.

“With the reputation and record Younis brings with him not only as a disciplined and hardworking batsman but also as an athletic fielder and a strategist, I see this as a great opportunity for our young players to hone their skills and learn how to make the transition from a good to a great cricketer.

“It always requires more than just talent to stamp your mark on the world stage, something which Younis demonstrated throughout his career.

“Mushtaq Ahmed is loaded with the experience of helping elite cricketers from different countries and is widely regarded as a mentor. Mushtaq is always involved in the game and this attitude will further help us in our pre-series preparations and enhance our prospects in the series.

“Due to events beyond human control, the series in England will be one of the most challenging and difficult one and, as such, we need to have the best talent and brains on our side. Younis as well as Mushtaq clearly tick all these and additional boxes, which will assist us in achieving our targets.”

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “I am delighted that someone of the stature and incredible batting record of Younis Khan has agreed to join the Pakistan cricket set-up as national men’s team batting coach. When I spoke with him, his commitment and enthusiasm to take up this assignment and serve his country was never in doubt and he jumped at the opportunity.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2020

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