Grant Flower signs contract with PCB

Karachi: Former Zimbabwean batsman, Grant Flower has finally signed a contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to join the national team as its batting coach next month.

According to sources in the PCB, the board also had success in appointing a foreigner as fielding coach and trainer.

"Grant Luden who is a South African and a former trainer of the Bangladesh team has accepted the assignment to be fielding coach and trainer with the national side and he will also work at the national cricket academy," one source told PTI.

He said that Luden was approached for negotiations after another Zimbabwean, Richard Halsall had expressed his reluctance to accept any assignment from the PCB due to its current management crisis and court cases.

The source said that the board was now looking to finalize a deal with a physiotherapist so that the support team of the national team could be completed.

"The national summer training camp is due to wind up next week and since there is no activity for the players until the August tour of Sri Lanka, the PCB has also allowed former captain, Waqar Younis to join the team late as head coach," the source said.

Pakistan is due to tour Sri Lanka in August to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in the unscheduled series.

The PCB has already appointed former test leg-spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed as the team`s spin bowling consultant while Moin Khan is the chief selector cum manager.

The source said the national selectors would also meet soon to finalize the names of 22 players who are to be given central contracts this year.

"The selectors will finalize the names on basis of the performance and attitude of players shown during the national summer camp with particular emphasis on their fitness standards," he added.

He said the input of Muhammad Akram who is head coach at the NCA and who supervised the national summer camp and Waqar would be taken before finalizing the names of the contracted players.

The board has already announced increments of 20 to 25 percent for players who get central contracts in their monthly retainers and in their match fees.

"I have been working in the nets on improving my game. The good thing about T20 is it will help me to play the ODI format and also train me for the big strokes," said Pujara, who is considered a Test specialist.

"Overall I am satisfied, but there is always scope for improvement, particularly in this format (T20) where I haven't played many matches. Hopefully with experience and more matches, I will become better."

During the initial IPL matches, Pujara played a few shots which were alien to him.

"T20 is such a format where you have to be innovative and you don't have enough time and you still want to score runs. You have to disturb bowlers' line and length.

"You have to move around the crease, you have to start playing the scoop shot and the reverse sweep, where the bowler thinks what line and length to bowl. It is really important to play those shots once in a while if not regularly."

On tomorrow's make or break game, Pujara said his side enjoys an advantage over the two-time champions, having defeated CSK twice in the league stage.

"I think because of the rain, we lost a bit of momentum (in Qualifier 1 against Kolkata Knight Riders), but the good thing is that we were in the top two (on league table) and have another opportunity to make the finals."

Teammate Glenn Maxwell hasn't performed well in the last few games after his blistering start to the competition but Pujara is hopeful the dashing batsman would click against CSK.

"Our team has won games even when Maxwell hasn't performed. But he has been the key player for us. Anybody can get a failure in T20 format in a couple of games. He is the kind of player who, if he gets going, can win the match single-handedly. Hopefully, he will come good tomorrow," said Pujara.

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