Karachi: Former captain Zaheer Abbas has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to immediately appoint a batting coach for the national team instead of focusing on the bowlers ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June. The PCB has hired former captain and bowling great Wasim Akram to supervise a 10-day camp for the top 19 pace bowlers in the country including those named in the 30-member probables list for the Champions Trophy.
Akram began the camp in Karachi last Saturday. "I don`t know how much improvement we will see in the bowlers` skills after such a short camp," Zaheer said. "What to my mind is more urgent than this bowling camp is having a specialised camp for the batsmen or hiring a batting coach as soon as possible because it is in batting that the team has struggled badly in recent times," he said.
He also called on the selectors to take a few risks and drop those players for the Champions Trophy who had not performed during the recent tour to South Africa. He also urged the selectors to look for new talent in the batting department. "I feel that perhaps the selectors have given too many chances to some senior players and it is time to try out new faces," he said.
Zaheer said Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Nasir Jamshed had not performed up to the mark in recent times. The selectors started a series of deliberations today in Lahore which will conclude with the selection of the final squad for the Champions Trophy.
A reliable source said that captain Misba-ul-Haq had urged the selectors to ensure that the fitness of all players was fully tested before finalising the 15-member squad for Champions Trophy. Pakistan had faced a spate of injury concerns during the tour of South Africa, their last international assignment, where a number of players were sidelined due to fitness issues.