Mumbai: Pakistan bowling coach and former all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has said that Pakistan has a long way to go in One Day International (ODI) cricket. Pakistan is languishing at lowly No.9 in the ICC ODI rankings.
The tourists have already lost the series and are low on morale. They drew the Test series 2-2 and climbed up to numero uno in Test rankings. Pakistan has over a long period of time struggled in coloured clothing and are playing an outdated brand of cricket.
The team won the prestigious WC in 1992 after being written off by their critics and they played like ‘cornered tigers’ according to legendary Imran Khan.
Pakistan is in danger of losing out for the automatic qualification for the World Cup and they have just made it to the ICC Champions Trophy, which is to be held in England next year.
Mahmood has emphasised that this tour has been a learning curve and they would compete hard in the next year’s global event.
“It’s been a disappointing time for us,” Mahmood, who saw Pakistan concede a world record total of 444 for three in the third ODI at Trent Bridge, told reporters in Cardiff on Saturday.
“The way we bowled at Nottingham wasn’t good enough.
“We are going to make mistakes. As long as we learn from them, we hope we can turn the tables around.”
England have done a complete 360 degree turnaround after performing atrociously at the WC Down Under in 2015 and playing a brand of cricket that is entertaining crowds and enjoying themselves by winning games of cricket comprehensively.
“Where England were 18 months ago, they changed the mentality and we have to do the same thing,” Mahmood said.
“Mindset, a little bit more aggression, a bit more positive cricket, intent. We need to change this mentality and thinking. Moving forward, we’ve got young players who can change things around but it will take time.”
Mahmood believes that England needed a reality check and the role of team’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace, who worked tirelessly and was brutally honest. Farbrace replaced Peter Moores as interim head coach before the appointment of New South Welshman Trevor Bayliss.
England has gone from strength to strength and are serious contenders for ICC silverware and they have Farbrace and Bayliss to thank for this rejuvenation.
“When Mooresy left and Farby took over, that’s the time they thought, ‘we’ve got not nothing to lose, we just need to express ourselves on the field’.”
One of the players who has been emblematic of England’s new style of ODI cricket is Mahmood’s Surrey team-mate Jason Roy.
Mahmood’s last appearance for the London-based county was a domestic Twenty20 against Kent at The Oval in July where opening batsman Roy struck 120 in a 37-run win.
“They (England) have got players like Jason Roy — he can change the game in no time — (Eoin) Morgan himself, Jos Buttler,” said Mahmood.
Pakistan’s main problem has been the lack of power hitters and absence of any mystery or fiery pace bowler. Their problem starts with the captain Azhar Ali, who is a wonderful Test player but a very limited and orthodox ODI player.
Mickey Arthur, coach, has already issued the warning and has put older players on notice. The team is talented but are not expressing themselves and playing cricket that England used to play. Inzamam-ul –Haq, chief selector and Arthur have to be on same page to bring about the change and select teams, which is exciting and plays dynamic brand of cricket.
“Where we are lacking as a batting unit we are not rotating the strike and we don’t have the guys who can clear the ropes.
“We need to find those guys very quickly if we want to improve in one-day cricket.”
As for the stark contrast in Pakistan’s Test and 50-over form, Mahmood said: “We’ve got a lot of new faces in the one-day side.
“If you see why we are number one in Test match cricket, we’ve got players who have been playing for the last five years so it’s a consistency we need to give our one-day guys too.”
Pakistan is currently playing the fifth ODI at Cardiff. They are in a commanding position and should win the match to save some face and show that playing for Pakistan is very important and dear to their heart.
The tour ends with a lone T20 at Manchester and it should be a cracking match to finish the international summer in England.