x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Actions of new UAE cricket coach Aaqib Javed louder than words

The UAE players should heed the advice of their new coach and Pakistan's bowling coach, writes Amir Hussain.

Left to right, Pakistan's coach Aaqib Javed, player Faisal Iqbal, coach Intikhab Alam and player Misbah-ul-Haq discuss at the end of an indoor practice session ahead of the third cricket test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Left to right, Pakistan's coach Aaqib Javed, player Faisal Iqbal, coach Intikhab Alam and player Misbah-ul-Haq discuss at the end of an indoor practice session ahead of the third cricket test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)

Aaqib Javed, the new national cricket coach, is not a man to raise his voice unduly.

He prefers to let his bowling exploits, which include a World Cup-winning performance and a hat-trick in a one-day international, do the talking. They speak volumes. So when the former Pakistan bowling coach has something to say, it is best to listen.

When he said before the Tests against England in the UAE that "no other team has the bowling variety and depth like Pakistan" his comments were derided by sceptics. But his words proved prophetic as Pakistan whitewashed the No 1 team in the world.

"I'm not one for shouting at the players, or making a lot of noise for the sake of it," he said.

"Coaching players is all about taking pride in your work and ensuring that you show a caring attitude towards the players."

It is a philosophy that has served him well and one that UAE's strike bowlers Asadullah Sharif and Amjad Javed should buy into when they take the new ball for Aaqib's first assignment against Scotland today in Sharjah, which ironically is the scene of Aaqib's finest hour in cricket when he trapped Ravi Shastri, Mohammed Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar, of all people, lbw in successive balls against India in 1991.

It is testament to Aaqib's coaching ability that many of the attack who allowed England to score more than 260 once in the recent three-match Test match series in the UAE graduated from the Under 19 side he coached to World Cup glory in 2005.

The close relationship he developed with the country's fast bowlers explains why he was stunned when Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir were found guilty of in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the game.

He had helped develop the potential of both as the coach at the National Cricket Academy. But he put the disappointment behind him and worked hard with the likes of Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan who complemented their spin colleagues in routing England last month.

"You have to be able to communicate effectively," he said. "Pay attention to detail, as well as be able to listen to what the players are telling you. At the end of the day the players' input into discussions is invaluable."

As a player Aaqib lived in the giant shadows of the great Pakistan fast bowlers Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram but his ability to swing the ball both ways made him the perfect foil for the pace duo.

While he could not match the searing speed of Waqar and Akram, he was a slippery customer with the ball and you underestimated him at your peril.

Against England in the summer of 1992 Javed, despite being only medium pace, was warned for intimidatory bowling at Devon Malcolm, a tail-end batsman, and was later fined half his match fee.

One of his career highlights came in the same year at the World Cup in Australia. He was drafted into the team as a replacement for the injured Waqar and his contribution was significant, taking two for 27 against England in the final as Pakistan lifted the trophy for the first time.

After a playing career of 22 Tests and 163 ODIs - he played his last game at the age of 26 in 1998 - he turned to coaching, first with the academy followed by intermittent appointments as the national bowling coach.

While Mohsin Khan, who replaced Waqar as the Pakistan coach, is largely credited for his role in the Test victories over England, many called for Aaqib to be given the top job. He may be media-shy but he made a big enough impression to become a strong candidate for head coach.

Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan coach, thought he was the ideal man for the job, citing the way he had grown in stature while working his way through different roles within the Pakistan system over the past 10 years.

Aaqib's passion for his work is not restricted to the top level of the game, but is also reflected in his unshakeable belief in the talent he has helped develop.

The players in the UAE will no doubt be happy to gain a mentor who is more akin to an elder brother than a hard task master - to use his own words

Aaqib has termed his new coaching assignment as "a great opportunity" and plans to develop cricketing talent over the next three years with special emphasis on the Under 19s.

It would seem that Pakistan's loss in bidding farewell to a trusted and well-liked mentor is a huge gain for the UAE.

 

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