No amount of training, talent and conditioning will be enough to win matches if the players do not enter the field with the right attitude, according to Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam.
Heavy losses and injuries are often accompanied by a fall in confidence, evident from the on-field performance, and these instances, according to Alam, determine a player’s ability to bounce back through mental resilience.
“This is one of the biggest problems with our players, the urge to spend endless hours training and working on just the physical aspect of their game,” Alam told The Express Tribune. “They forget that if you don’t enter the field with the right kind of attitude, a must-have for all types of cricket, your talent and form won’t matter much.”
Alam, who was director of the National Cricket Academy before being appointed Pakistan manager prior the series against New Zealand last year, had planned on initiating an education programme which failed to see the light of day due to lack of funds. The programme would have seen budding cricketers being provided education, language lessons and conduct training apart from the technical assistance from professional coaches.
“Elsewhere in the world, they have a proper grooming system, their culture is different from us as well so they have a bit of an advantage over us when it comes to conduct and education.
“It’s not good to see so many budding players putting in endless hours of training, building up their physical presence on the field while their minds are blank, unable to cope with the changing situation on the field, leaving them clueless.”
Pakistan sought the assistance of a psychologist prior to its triumphant 2009 World Twenty20 campaign during a training camp in Bhurban. While Alam rued lack of funding yet again as the reason behind not having a psychologist on-board, the manager and captain Shahid Afridi confirmed that the coaches were there to do the job.
“At this level, the coaches don’t need to tell us how to play cricket,” said Afridi. “They work with your mind, give you confidence after a poor show and sit down with you when you need them to.”
However, no matter how much work goes in after a player is selected for the national side, the work, according to the manager, needs to start at home.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2011.