x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'Akhtar and Sami never wanted to work hard'

Mudassar Nazar, one of the newly appointed coaches at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai Sports City has described the two bowlers as "wasted talents'.

The recent decline of Pakistan's national team is mirrored most starkly by the waning power of two of the game's fastest bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Sami. At their peak, Akhtar and Sami were the qyickest new-ball pairing in the game, both capable of endangering the 100mph mark, not least the cowering batsmen. But like the troubled national team, they are now rarely-spotted, out of sync and out of favour.

Akhtar was ruled out of the Test series against Sri Lanka starting on Saturday due to a knee injury which had threatened to end his career prematurely. Mudassar Nazar has had both players under his charge at various points during their careers. And he regards both players as wasted talents. "Sami never wanted to work hard," said Nazar, who is one of two newly-appointed head coaches at the International Cricket Council's Global Cricket Academy in Dubai Sports City.

"He had everything going for him. He had a few problems with his run up. It was pointed out to him but he was not interested. "Sometimes the talented guys don't tend to work as hard as the rest of us. He has been a great loss to Pakistan cricket. "With Shoaib and Sami bowling in tandem they were sending the ball down at 90-95mph." The case of Akhtar, the No 1 bad boy of Pakistan cricket, has been exhaustively documented.

But Nazar said it was his attitude that disappointed him. "He would always find an answer or an excuse to get out of hard work," he said. "He would only train six weeks before a Test match. You need to work hard - and he didn't. "They are a product of a system, but it is not a healthy system. For Pakistan cricket to move forward, these habits have to change." When Pakistan arrive in the UAE for a series against Australia in April, they will be led by another new-look management team.

Intikhab Alam, the new coach, now partners Younis Khan, who finally accepted the captaincy after the removal of the all- rounder Shoaib Malik. Nazar hopes stability will finally be brought to the most tempestuous side in world cricket, but he is not holding his breath. He added: "With cricket, as with anything in life, continuity is a very important thing. The chopping and changing is ridiculous. "Unfortunately, that is not the way Pakistan cricket is run."

pradley@thenational.ae