Pakistan batting coach is being wasted in his current role
Whenever I see Younis Khan on TV, I feel a sense of sadness. He seems different from the others. It seems as if he is hiding a storm in his heart. At first, he was seen playing with players’ hair or having fun but now he seems to be with his diary, which must house many secrets.
When he was initially announced as the batting coach for Pakistan, it was assumed that a player who was quick in anger and preferred solitude would soon leave his position after a fight with someone in the team setup. Maybe the past was a reason for this thought. But Younis Khan kept emphasising that he had changed and would be seen in a new way. Even though there have been no incidents with him involved, the future does not seem too bright.
Younis Khan is a straightforward individual. He stays away from the media. The PCB is also afraid of him saying things that could create controversies and thus he is not made a part of many press conferences. When Younis Khan, in a media talk, questioned about the hasty selection of inexperienced cricketers and complained about him not having a say in selection matters, it became obvious that he is not happy with the current arrangement.
The problem is that we have not seen a big difference in the batting performances of players during his tenure. We cannot take the skills of Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan as an example of the batting coach’s work. When we see a batsman like Haider Ali struggle, the question of Younis Khan’s role as a batting coach and his performance comes to mind. Many players complain that the batting coach is too busy working with the captain and vice-captain of the side. If this is true then it is an alarming situation. Young cricketers need Younis Khan’s attention more than anyone else.
Another big problem is that whenever a young player performs well, it is credited to the advice given to them by the batting coach of the NPHC Mohammad Yousaf. Younis Khan gets the brunt of the criticism after the bad performances. Khan is the only cricketer from Pakistan with more than 10,000 international runs in Test cricket. As a batsman, he is not in competition with Misbahul Haq. However, the head coach still believes himself to be greater in significance. Misbah’s authority has been challenged by the arrival of Younis Khan.
One team having two batting coaches must create its own problems. Bowling coach Waqar Younis was also a much bigger cricketer than Misbah, but he is at an age where he must not want the pressure that comes with the position of the head coach. His temperament is also vastly different from that of Younis Khan. We should not be surprised to wake up one day to the news that Younis Khan is no longer in his current position. The PCB should make a decision before this could happen.
Younis Khan should be made Pakistan’s Rahul Dravid. He should be handed the Pakistan Under-19 team. He could also help young players in Karachi’s HPC in his spare time. He is being wasted on international tours. He does not get a chance to teach players the necessary skills. Everyone can see how much benefit the Indian team gained when Rahul Dravid worked with the Under-19 side. Their junior team became strong while new talent came forward for the national side. The PCB should seriously consider this. If this is done then the PCB should not just turn around and make Mohammad Yousaf the batting coach, that job should lie with Misbahul Haq alone. If they still want to hire someone then they should go for a lesser name since bigger names don’t usually deliver.
The problem in Pakistan is that nobody wants to work at the lower levels of junior cricket. Everyone wants to be near the national team and media limelight. That is why under-19 sides usually get coaches who require coaching themselves. Younis Khan has never ran after money. He had rejected a one-crore deal during Najam Sethi’s tenure. The PCB should at least try asking him to coach the under-19 side, I am sure he will not say no.
We should invest in our under-19 cricket which can give us many players. Unfortunately, even our chief selector Mohammad Wasim seems more interested in his image than in cricket. People like these cannot take bold initiatives. The PCB should make decisions about its players and coaches soon since a World Cup is coming up. Everyone knows that Misbahul Haq and Waqar Younis share a very defensive mindset. We cannot expect too much from them as far as the limited-overs side is concerned. At this time, making it to the final four seems to be a very tough task for the Men in Green in the upcoming mega event. The PCB should start taking these tough decisions by first moving down Younis Khan who is being wasted in his current role.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Cricket Pakistan.