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Pakistan players need to play for the team and not for themselves - Mahmood

Pakistan players need to play for the team and not for themselves - Mahmood
Azhar Mahmood believes there is a lot of negativity among the Pakistan players which is affecting their performance.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Pakistan cricketer Azhar Mahmood, who was the bowling coach for the national team in the Asia Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 tournaments has lamented the players’ attitude towards the game which led to their downfall.

In the Asia Cup held in Bangladesh, Pakistan managed wins only against Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates, while they went on to lose their encounters against the eventual finalists India and Bangladesh leading to a first round exit.

In the World T20 tournament in India, Shahid Afridi’s men lost to India, New Zealand and Australia while managing a solitary victory over Bangladesh in Group 2 leading to another early exit from the tournament.

Notwithstanding the poor result, Mahmood, who has seen the team from close quarters said that the Pakistan players were playing for themselves and not for the team goals.

Reasoning that the players' fear of losing their place in the team is a factor, Mahmood urged the Pakistan cricketers to come out their comfort zone and set much bigger target for themselves.

“One of the aspects that was a real concern was that some players are playing for themselves and not for the team,” wrote Mahmood in his latest blog on PakPassion.net.

“This stems from the team culture and the lack of trust and results in players only thinking about their own position in the team and not what the team's requirements are.

“At the moment very few of the players are willing to play for the team, as they are too busy worried about their own position in the team.

“For too many players personal goals are coming ahead of the team goals.

“Batsmen and bowlers should be setting themselves challenging goals, looking at the number of hundreds they will score and the number of 5fers they are targeting.”

After being impressed with the Pakistan Women’s team performance in the ICC Women’s World T20 tournament, Mahmood said the Men’s team should learn from the Women’s team on how to play with pride and passion when they represent the country.

“It hurts me to say this but the pride and passion of playing for your country is missing from some of the current Pakistani cricketers.

“You are representing your country, not your local club team!

“The Pakistan women's team were an example to the men's team at the World Twenty20, as they played with passion and pride.

“When I put the Pakistan shirt on recently for my coaching stint, I had goosebumps, but I don't see that in a lot of the current players.”

The 41-year-old also had praise for Indian vice-captain Virat Kohli, who went on to win the man of the tournament award in the World T20 and urged the Pakistan players to take a leaf out of his game.

“We have talent, but you have to have the work ethic, as talent alone will not help you succeed.

“Again I use the example of Virat Kohli. He has talent, but look at his work ethic and the amount of hard work he does to supplement that talent.

“It's easy for the players to blame the coaches or the PCB, but at the end of the day it's how much they want it and how much hard work they put in, which will produce the results.”

Despite managing just three wickets from four games at an economy of 7.86, Mahmood praised Mohammad Amir for his commitment and further described him as the “best Pakistan bowler” among the current lot.

“Mohammad Amir was Pakistan's best bowler five years ago, he's still Pakistan's best bowler because he's dedicated and hard-working.

“He's played no cricket for five years but is still our best bowler.

“His wrist position is so good and he wants to prove a point.

“This commitment is missing from some of the other bowlers.

“What have the other bowlers been doing for the past five years?

“If they are not willing to learn or change things, then you can bring in whichever coaches you want.”

Identifying the mindset of the players as the major problem going forward, Mahmood suggested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to hire a sports psychologist to eradicate the negativity in the dressing room.

Also, he stressed on the importance of a strong domestic structure to make better players at the grassroots level.

“I made some points to the PCB in a report I submitted to them.

“One of the points I addressed was that the PCB needs to hire a sports psychologist to get the players mindset right and get their thinking to be a lot more positive.

“Another point I have made to the PCB is to hire a better quality of domestic coach.

“We need people who can improve the game awareness of our cricketers at domestic level and also improve our cricketers' fitness and make them more aware of nutrition.”

Following the dismal performance in the ICC World T20, the PCB had dismissed the national selection committee while Afridi and Waqar Younis stepped down from the position of captain of the T20I team and head coach respectively. 

© Cricket World 2016