Grant Flower describes Pak assignment as a "big challenge"

Karachi: Pakistan`s foreign batting coach Grant Flower has described his new assignment as a "big challenge" and said he was looking forward to convincing Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi to do away with their habit of throwing away good starts.

A day after reaching Pakistan for his two-year assignment, the former Zimbabwe batsman told reporters in Lahore that there was pressure on him to deliver.

"There is pressure but I look at this job as a big challenge but there is also a feeling that if I succeed the rewards are great and Pakistan cricket will move forward a lot," Flower said.

"My main focus right now is to ensure there is improvement in batting and fielding departments before the World Cup which is an important event for us," he said.

"The good thing about Pakistan cricket is that it is always capable of winning anywhere and against anyone. There is natural talent but it has to be honed as well. I am looking forward to convincing talented batsmen like Umar Akmal and Afridi to leave their habit of playing in a hurry and ask them to use their batting skills more significantly for the team.

"I have seen them throw away good starts because of their hurried approach. I know they can be so much more dangerous if they curb their habit and remain at the crease," he added.

Umar has been named in Pakistan`s Test squad for the Sri Lanka tour after being sidelined in this format for nearly three years. Umar, the younger brother of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, had said that he will try to not let the selectors down. He also made it clear that he prefers Test cricket over ODIs.

Flower, who is the brother of England`s former head coach Andy Flower, said he had a fair idea of the psyche of Pakistani players having played a lot against them.

"It is a challenge but every assignment for a professional coach is a challenge but I am keen to leave a positive imprint on Pakistan cricket," he said.

Pakistan`s head coach Waqar Younis held a detailed meeting with his coaching staff including Flower, spin bowling consultant Mushtaq Ahmed, fielding coach and trainer Grant Ludon and assistant coach Shahid Aslam today after the training camp of the national team ahead of the Lanka tour could not start due to heavy rains in Lahore.

Pakistan tours Sri Lanka early next month to play two Tests and three ODIs and a T20 match.

Shahid Afridi worried about Pakistan cricket

Karachi: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi is concerned about cricket`s future in the country and believes the upcoming talent pool is not convincing enough for long-term survival in the national team.

The outspoken Afridi made these observations on a talk show on Geo Super channel when asked whether it was time for Pakistan to start looking at a new and young captain.

"I am worried because leave alone the captaincy debate the talent coming through is not convincing enough. Where is the talent to talk about a new captain?" Afridi asked.

The former Pakistan captain was asked whether he thought that with India also talking about grooming someone to replace captain MS Dhoni, wasn`t it time for Pakistan to start looking for a suitable successor to Misbah-ul-Haq.

"The idea is good but where is the talent to do this. I don`t see anyone. In fact I wonder what happens after the World Cup 2015 when the senior lot is gone," he added.

Afridi, whose name has been taken number of times as the best person to lead Pakistan in the World Cup, said the cricket board and selectors needed to think about the future.

"I don`t know but honestly speaking we have to see what happens after the World Cup when seniors will go."

Afridi himself is 36 while current captain, Misbah turned 40 last month. Afridi said the board
needed to plan for the future and frankly he didn`t think there would be more than three to four junior players in the World Cup squad.

"The dependence is still on senior players but we need to look ahead," said Afridi.

Afridi lamented the fact that not enough talent was coming through.

"It saddens me but look at Karachi... How many players have made it from there to the top level in the last few years. There was a time when Karachi was the nursery of Pakistan cricket."

The all-rounder was also forthright about the new team management comprising head coach Waqar Younis, manager and chief selector Moin Khan, spin bowling consultant Mushtaq Ahmed, batting coach Grant Flower and fielding coach cum trainer Grant Ludon.

"Look if these people work together we will produce good results, if they don`t work well as a unit the results will not be encouraging so it is important these people are on the same wavelength.

"They have loads of experience between them and can do a lot for Pakistan cricket," he concluded.

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