Miandad helps Pak players prepare for New Zealand tour

Lahore: Former Pakistan skipper Javed Miandad was back on the cricket field on Wednesday as the national training camp began here at the Gaddafi stadium for the team’s preparation for the upcoming New Zealand tour.

Miandad spent about three hours with the players, guiding them in the nets and helping them with the fielding drills on the first day of the camp, with an eye on the 2011 World Cup.

“It is wonderful to be back with the boys in the field. It is an honour for me to help Pakistan cricket whenever I am needed and I will make myself available whenever asked for,” Miandad told the media.

“I am looking forward to working with the team over the next few days. They are all very energetic and enthusiastic. I am confident that before they depart for their important tour of New Zealand I would be able to help them fine tune their batting techniques,” he added.

The former Test captain’s appearance in the camp was a sigh of relief for the Pakistan Cricket Board as earlier Miandad had expressed his reservations over working under the supervision of head coach Waqar Younis.

However, he is yet to decide on accompanying the team to New Zealand later this month and an official of the Board said that Miandad had told the Chairman of PCB, Ejaz Butt that he would inform him about his decision to go to New Zealand in a few days time.

Miandad, who has played 124 Tests, was made the coach the national team thrice but each time his tenure ended in acrimonious circumstances. But he is still considered as the best cricketing brain in the country.

“Getting an opportunity to pass on my experience to these boys is a great thing and I am keen to contribute, especially with the World Cup coming up,” Miandad said.

Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam also admitted that the players could learn a lot from someone as experienced as Miandad.

“It is good to have him back. He has been given a job and I am sure he will fulfill it with enthusiasm and passion,” Alam said.

Alam added that the camp was an important part of preparations for the New Zealand tour.

“The Kiwis’ confidence has clearly been shaken by their recent defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and India and I think this time we have a great opportunity to defeat them on their home soil.”

Pakistan will play three T20 matches, two Tests and six ODIs in New Zealand and this will be their last outing before the World Cup begins from February 19.

“The Kiwis would be under pressure right now and we must take advantage of it. Our team perhaps has better talent compared to some other teams. But there is a need for them to perform as a unit and do it consistently,” said Alam, adding that the focus should be on improving the fielding skills and fine tuning the batting in the camp.