KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has said the national side needs to be consistent in its performance to be rated among the leading teams of the world.
During an interview on Dawn News program Replay, he also said Pakistan cricket need consistency both at the board and team levels to be classified as ‘world-class’.
“To become a world-class team Pakistan need consistency — both at board and team levels because to develop individual player one needs two to three years but change captains when they ready to do well after mixed experiences. The same happen in the cases of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mickey Arthur,” Inzamam said. “Removing Sarfaraz specially from T20 captaincy was harsh on someone who led Pakistan to No. 1 rank for nearly two years.
“In my opinion Arthur was doing very well in last six months with the team but we changed him right after the  World Cup. I must say the PCB and the team need long-term plans and consistency. But sadly we are making changes every 2-3 years and that’s why we are struggling. In my opinion the current PCB regime and national team management should get a long run to achieve desired results.”
Inzamam observed Pakistan’s biggest challenge in England will be mentally and make adjustments to the restricted environment because of Covid 19, while fearing problems arising.
“I can tell through my own experience that if Pakistan or any team remain together on a long tour problems may occur. When a team is confined to same place for some weeks and players not allowed to go outside it can cause problems,” Inzamam warned. “I fear there could be frictions within the ranks. But having said that I feel Pakistan have decent chance of winning against strong team because we’ve done well in the last two series over there.”
Inzamam commented limited-overs skipper Babar Azam and young spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi have potential to become greats of the game.
“I feel Babar and Shaheen are two players who can become greats cricketers during the upcoming series against England. Babar has already done very well, while Shaheen had a great World Cup last year and he is improving day by day.”
Inzamam admitted that he was not all that confident that Pakistan could win the ICC Champions Trophy but all credit to Sarfaraz and Arthur. “To be honest I wasn’t expecting us to win the title, particularly after Pakistan lost badly to India in the group match. But it was a remarkable turnaround by the young team and all credit goes to Sarfaraz and Arthur. Then players like Fakhar [Zaman], Hasan [Ali], Shadab [Khan], Faheem [Ashraf] and [Mohammad] Amir inspired team to a memorable victory in the final. I think all these players can do further well if they work harder and become stars like we had in the 1990s.”
Inzamam, who captained Danish Kaneria for a long time, said the spinner was always treated very well and equally like all other team-mates.
“But I’m very disappointed and shocked to read media reports in which Danish claims he was not treated well. I think he he played 80% of his international cricket under my leadership and I had a very good relationship with him as I had with all the players.
“He [Kaneria] was one of my main bowlers so I always remained in touch with him. I can tell you he was very comfortable and treated well like all the team-mates.”
Inzamam pointed out that Kaneria could have claimed 500 wickets in Test cricket but the fixing scandal tarnished everything.
“ I was so disappointed when I heard that Danish is involved in the the fixing scandal and later banned by the England ad Wales Cricket Board. I thought he had the potential to grab more than 500 Test wickets.”
Inzamam, in the meantime, backed former team-mate and his vice-captain Younis Khan after learning that former batting coach Grant Flower had alleged Pakistan’s highest Test run-getter had put threatened him with a knife.
“I just can’t believe what Grant has been saying. I played with Younis for a long time and I know him very well. Younis is someone who can never show knife to anyone, “ Inzamam said. “I am surprised why Grant is speaking about it now. I think sometime an individual wants to remain in the media limelight. Imagine such claims after more than three years have no value. Further, I never heard such incident while I was the chief selector. To me this statement has no value.”
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2020