Coaches, PCB chief agree upon ‘comprehensive plans’ to enhance Pakistan’s performance – Sport

LAHORE: Pakistan’s respective white-ball and Test head coaches Gary Kirsten and Jason Gillespie and the country’s cricket board’s chairman Mohsin Naqvi have agreed upon “comprehensive plans” to deal with the national team’s woes that were most recently highlighted in its disastrous show at last month’s T20 World Cup.

Mohsin met Kirsten and Gillespie, along with Pakis­tan’s assistant coach across both formats Azhar Mah­mood late on Monday night to discuss ideas on getting the team out of the quagmire it had found itself in after it’s first-round exit from the T20 showpiece, which also saw the outfit taste defeat against minnows United States.

A statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday effectively made the admission that the national team was facing a crisis across all three departments of the game.

The way forward, as the press release suggested, is yet to be put on paper.

“Discussions during the meeting centred around strategising for improvements in batting, bowling and fielding, with a decision to devise comprehensive plans in these areas,” said the PCB statement. “It was agreed that selection would be contingent upon meeting the fitness standards.”

The meeting included deliberations over player selection leading to the composition of the Pakistan unit. According to the PCB statement, the board’s chief believed the available talent pool wasn’t being optimally benefitted from.

“Addressing concerns about team composition, PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi acknowledged the presence of talent but highlighted the need for

optimal combinations,” read the press release.

“He expressed full confidence in the coaching staff’s abilities and assured them of complete support in player development and coaching matters. “The meeting also saw insights shared by the coaches aimed at enhancing team performance through structured plans, which received

unanimous approval from the PCB Chairman. Director International PCB, Usman Wahla, also attended the meeting.”

It is yet to be clarified if Kirsten, Gillespie and Azhar — both based abroad — would settle in Pakistan to carry out “structured plans” whenever those are carried out officially at the grassroots level.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, both Kirsten and Gillespie held a meeting with some members of the national selection committee including Mohammad Yousuf, sources said.

They also met other stakeholders and would continue to meet other related persons. While Gillespie, who arrived in Pakistan on Saturday morning, would stay in the country for the national side’s upcoming home assignments against Bangladesh in England, Kirsten is likely to leave for South Africa after completing his round of meetings with different stakeholders.

While Mohsin has carried out meetings with former players and the Pakistan coaches after the T20 World Cup debacle, he is yet to meet any of the national team players — including captain Babar Azam — or any members of the selection committee.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

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