KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain and prolific batsman Zaheer Abbas on Monday said Pakistan’s new domestic cricket set up will take time to settle and since Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided in favour of regional cricket “we should focus on how this system can work.”

Speaking to Dawn News on Sunday in tv show ‘Replay’, the Asian Bradman said: “We all know Imran has always supported regional cricket, so we have to wait and see how it works. Of course, departments cricket worked well in the past and produced so many superstars. And in those days, Pakistan won three major ICC events too, mainly because of the supports departments provided to the players who were groomed well under them,” recalled Zaheer.

“But now with the regional cricket in place, we should wait and see how this system works and what kind of results it gives out,” he said. “I feel that Pakistan teams’ performance in the three upcoming World Cups will decide how this new domestic system is shaping up.”

‘Azhar Ali’s captaincy was not impressive at all’

Commenting on the recently concluded series against England, Zaheer said: “Pakistan missed a great chance of win the first Test against England and in my opinion Test Captain Azhar Ali really needs to improve his captaincy. Azhar’s captaincy wasn’t impressive at all and he needs to work hard on his game as well his leadership skills.”

“He did score a very fine hundred in last Test but as captain its crucial how team performs and team results matter much more than individual performances. Azhar should play more first class cricket as captain so that he learns more about how to lead a side,” said Zaheer in a candid analysis.

“It was very disappointing to see Pakistan-England Test series affected by rain so much. That left a bad taste in the mouth.”

However, Zaheer said that Pakistan did well in the T20 series though there were question marks on team selection. “I strongly feel that we need to improve decision-making on selection,” said the bespectacled maestro. “We should have a proper plan in selection, specially now when we are approaching ICC World T20.”

“Before the World T20, Pakistan should play enough matches to prepare well. We should maintain a good balance between seniors and youngsters in the squad to excel in T20 cricket,” he observed. “We must appoint qualified ex-cricketers for coaching at the grass root level to provide sound basics to youngsters. At the intentional level, a coach can only do fine tuning and devise strategies, the real cricket is developed at the grass root level,” concluded Zaheer.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020

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