After being sacked as Pakistan's bowling coach, Azhar Mahmood was disappointed to not get a chance to represent himself in front of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Cricket Committee before the board decided to not renew his contract along with other coaching staff.
Former Pakistan all-rounder also slammed the media for describing his departure as ‘sacking’ saying he has completed his tenure as bowling coach with dignity and pride.
The entire coaching staff came under heavy criticism after Pakistan failed to qualify for the World Cup 2019 semi-finals, which led them to lose their job, but Mahmood urged his critics to have a look at the bowlers’ states before making any comment.
Mahmood wrote for pakpassion.net, “It’s interesting and disappointing at the same time to see media reports of my departure from the role of bowling coach for Pakistan being described as ‘sacking’ when the truth is simply that I was initially hired by the PCB for a two-year contract which was recently extended up to the World Cup and that contract has reached its natural conclusion.”
He continued, “A further extension to the contract would have taken place based upon mutual understanding but as we know, the PCB for their own reasons have decided not to extend the contract which is their prerogative. To be clear, I have completed my tenure with dignity and pride. Whilst the decision to not renew the contract is PCB’s alone, there is understandably some disappointment on my side for their decision, especially as I felt that we were all working really well with the team towards preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020.
In addition, we had made some good progress with the Pakistan side in all formats so to see all that not taken into account by the PCB does leave me a little sad. From what I understand, the committee spoke with Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mickey Arthur and allowed them to make their representations, but I was never called up to offer my point of view regarding the detailed technical report which I sent of my own accord to PCB MD Wasim Khan and the Cricket Committee after the end of the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, the 44-year-old reflected at the success of national bowlers since he took the charge in November 2016 – Yasir Shah took 87 wickets from 16 matches, Mohammad Abbas 66 from 14, Mohammad Amir 50 from 16 and Hassan Ali 31 from nine outings in Test cricket.
While Hassan Ali took 71 wickets from 45 games, Shadab Khan 56 from 41, Amir 40 from 35, Shaheen Shah Afridi 40 from 19 and Usman Shinwari 28 from 15 games under his tenure in One Day International cricket. Mahmood further wrote, “Looking at the bowlers that I worked with, you will note that most of them were very young and inexperienced at the international as well as the domestic level and I helped them transform them into excellent prospects for Pakistan.”
He continued, “Take the example of Hasan Ali who came in very young and then became the number one bowler in ODIs. Of course, nowadays, his form has taken a downward turn at the moment. Now, a bowler’s form can drop from time to time but if one is to look at his overall statistical record, he isn’t that far away from the current number one ranked bowler, Jasprit Bumrah.
And whilst it is true that Yasir Shah is a legspin bowler, I worked a lot on his technical and mental aspects and helped him improve so much in Test matches. What is painful for me is to listen to criticism about my efforts on the field with our bowlers by people who have no interest to learn the truth and understand what work I have put in. I for one can see the results of my labour with these bowlers and I would also recommend that critics open their eyes and look at the statistics of these players before commenting on my performance with the side.”
Azhar signed off by saying, “In this report, I had described the technical work done with our bowlers and offered recommendations. It would only have been fair that I should have been cross-questioned on the contents of that report and on my views, in the same way Mickey Arthur was when it comes to how the team has performed in recent times.”
(With pakpassion.net Inputs)