- Says spinner is experienced and players seem happy with his work ethics
Former captain Moin Khan has said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should extend interim head coach Saqlain Mushtaq's contract as he suits the team, a statement that comes after the country impressed followers with its performance at the recently-concluded ICC T20 World Cup.
Speaking exclusively to Business Recorder, the former wicketkeeper-batsman said that the PCB should take the spin wizard into confidence and, if he is available, continue with him instead of hunting for a foreign coach.
Pakistan has been without a permanent head coach and bowling coach ever since Misbah ul Haq and Waqar Younis stepped down from their respective positions a month ahead of the T20 World Cup. Although PCB roped in Saqlain, Hayden and Vernon Philander as head coach, batting and bowling consultant posts, respectively, for the mega event, none of them have been offered a long-term contract so far.
“Saqlain is a better choice for the Pakistan cricket team. He is a very sensible, experienced and seasoned coach and knows how to handle the team. We currently witnessed how well they gelled together under his coaching,” Moin said.
“Stories coming from the dressing room prove that the team was happy with his work ethic. As long as the team is happy with him and the partnership is working for the betterment of the team, I think he should continue.”
Saqlain has been with England, West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh teams as a spin bowling coach and consultant, and also served at the Pakistan High-Performance Centre.
Meanwhile, Moin, a World Cup-winning wicketkeeper, was all praises for Australian batting great Matthew Hayden and felt he should have continued with the team as well.
“As far as Matthew Hayden is concerned, I think the board should talk to him again, and if he is willing to continue in the current position [batting consultant], he would be a better choice for I have no doubt in his abilities.”
T20 World Cup campaign
The 50-year-old also commended the Pakistan cricket team’s effort in the T20 World Cup, saying “they played the tournament to their full potential and made us proud”.
“I think Pakistan’s overall performance has been commendable. They played a total of six matches in the tournament, and were only beaten once, in the semi-final.”
Moin believed that the toss, once again, was the key factor in deciding the results of the match.
Although Pakistan had tried to get used to bowling second in the previous two games, it did not work against Australia: Moin Khan
“I think the toss was key. Babar lost the toss due to which we did not get the opportunity we could while bowling first. Although Pakistan had tried to get used to bowling second in the previous two games, it did not work against Australia. Overall, I think it was a wonderful journey although we got knocked out in the semifinals.”
On Azam Khan’s form
The former captain was also candid about his son Azam Khan’s recent form and his exclusion from the T20 World Cup squad.
“You see, he is slowly regaining his form and getting into his groove. He has scored runs in the ongoing first-class season. Naturally, any young kid would get disheartened if he is dropped from a T20 World Cup squad after being initially part of it. But what I have learnt from this game is to work hard every day and stick to the basics. Because your luck can change any moment if you work hard.”
Moin said he mentors Azam constantly and pushes him to continue the hard work, and silence critics with his performance.
“I think he is lucky that he has me as his coach and mentor all the time – at home and Quetta Gladiators. What I believe is that a player should stay focused on his abilities and performance, and silence his critics with his performance.”