Azhar Mahmood’s journey as Pakistan’s bowling coach recently came to an end. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee met on August 2 in Lahore to discuss on the team’s poor performance in the World Cup. During the meeting, it was decided that the coaching staff would undergo a change. It meant that Mahmood had to bid adieu to the team after being appointed back in November 2016.
Mickey Arthur, the head coach, and Grant Flower, the batting coach, also didn’t get their contracts renewed. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed is also set to be relieved of Test captaincy. In the meantime, Mahmood has made some stern revelations about Arthur. He said that the former head coach was a dominating figure and he tried to raise the matter to the PCB officials, but unfortunately to no avail.
PCB and its cricket committee just invited Mickey Arthur
“Throughout my tenure, I raised this matter to PCB officials that as bowling coach I must have a say in selection matters as I had a better idea about every bowler but it didn’t happen,” Mahmood, also a former Pakistan cricketer, was quoted as saying in Dawn News.
Mahmood reckons that the 2017 Champions Trophy victory allowed Arthur to dictate terms. “After the Champions Trophy victory, Arthur became more powerful and he took all the major decisions along with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and captain Sarfaraz but Mickey was dominating,” he said.
Moreover, he expressed grief for the fact that the board only gave Arthur a chance to put forth opinions while the rest of the support staff didn’t get the privilege. “PCB and its cricket committee just invited Mickey Arthur from the entire coaching staff but did not give us (Azhar and Flower) a chance to clarify and answer about my own department,” he stated.
Mahmood enjoyed his time with the young Pakistan fast bowlers, grooming them over the time period. “When I joined, most of the bowlers were inexperienced and I worked very hard with them. Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Shinwari and Shaheen — all came as newcomers during my time and they worked hard and produced good performances,” he added.
In the World Cup, a young Mohammad Hasnain was preferred for his sheer pace after he impressed in the 2019 PSL. But Mahmood believed that dropping left-arm seamer Usman Shinwari for the youngster was a ‘mistake and injustice’. Throughout the tournament, Hasnain had to warm the benches.
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