KARACHI: Australian representation in Pakistan’s dressing room may give them a “slight advantage” over their opponents during the upcoming T20 World Cup Down Under, the national side’s bowling coach Shaun Tait has said.
Tait will be joined by compatriot and former international team-mate Matthew Hayden in Pakistan’s backroom staff with the ex opener appointed as the team’s mentor for the tournament in Australia.
The conditions in the country, however, will not be unfamiliar for the Pakistan players in an era where they play leagues around the world.
“It sounds like it’s going to be more of an advantage of what it actually probably is,” Tait told reporters here on Sunday.
“Players have played all around the world, they have played in Australia before, but I guess the discussion with the players will be a lot more positive, a lot more easier to talk to because we have played there and that’s our home so I’d say may be a slight advantage.
“I suppose we can give them a bit more confidence because you’ve got a couple of Australian guys in the dressing room and if that helps then great.”
Tait were brought into the Pakistan coaching setup during the team’s Test series against Australia at home earlier this year.
Since then, a group of genuine fast-bowlers have been identified as the national side’s pace battery, spearheaded by left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is nursing a knee-injury since July.
In Shaheen’s absence, right-armers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf have been on top of their game and they showed it during the recently-concluded Asia Cup.
There were decent performances from Mohammad Hasnain and Shahnawaz Dahani as well. Tait said he found coaching Pakistani pacers “simple”.
“With these guys (fast-bowlers) in Pakistan, their natural ability known to everyone,” said the 39-year-old.
“They like to keep things simple, they got a lot of flair ingrained and for me it’s simple stuff; building relationships with them and keeping them confident.”
Tait, an express pacer in his playing days, felt Naseem was a bit like himself when he was young.
“Naseem, in some ways, he reminds me of myself when I was a younger cricketer,” he said. “He is sort of free-spirited but he is quite intelligent, I wasn’t.
“He has been a breeze to work with, you’ve all seen his natural ability to bowl with the new ball, it’s as good as it gets.”
Tait was also impressed by Haris, who, despite having promising pace, was notorious for leaking runs during crucial moments in white-ball games.
The Australian revealed he worked with Haris to improve his consistency, which showed in the Asia Cup.
“The only thing that we have been talking together about is consistency and i suppose that showed in the Asia Cup,” noted Tait.
“He has got the pace he has got the swing, aggression, we just talked about being more consistent in his areas and making it difficult for the batsmen.”
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2022