In recent years, batting has been a major letdown for Pakistan cricket across all formats of the sport. After a long time, a regular batting coach has finally found his way into the national team management. Grant Flower, former Zimbabwe batsman, has started his stint with the national willow wielders in the ongoing training camp for the tour of Sri Lanka. Flower featured in 67 Tests and 221 One-Day Internationals (ODI) in a career spanning 18 years, with the Zimbabweans enjoying an excellent record against Pakistan.
Before taking up the assignment with Pakistan, Flower had been part of the Zimbabwean coaching set-up for three years besides mentoring teams in the English county circuit. Despite his pedigree, cricket analysts, including some former national cricketers, have expressed reservations on his new appointment. Many feel that a former Test batsman from within Pakistan or a more reputed former player from a major cricket-playing nation should have been handed the reins instead of the Zimbabwean.
To his credit, Flower did not seem too bogged down with such suggestions and expressed enthusiasm in taking Pakistan cricket forward in his first media interaction since arriving in Pakistan. The next few months are crucial for the national team, especially when the upcoming ODI World Cup is taken into account. Given the often brittle nature of our batting line-up, Flower would have to use every strain of his batting and coaching experience if he is to remedy this perennial problem plaguing our cricket. Many of our batsmen have glaring technical deficiencies and are often found wanting against top-notch bowling and on challenging pitches. While his work may be cut out, one cannot help but feel that it is only fair to give Flower some leeway before the pundits start judging his performance. When it comes to Pakistan cricket, our experts and fans have the habit of pronouncing premature verdicts on a regular basis. Perhaps, it is time to give this practice a rest given the tough nature of the task that Flower is faced with.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.
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