x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Whatmore makes ‘no difference’ to Pakistan cricket, says Ajmal

Ahead of UAE tour, off-spinner claims Australian gets paid better than his Pakistani predecessors but gives nothing extra to team in return.

Saeed Ajmal has taken 147 wickets from just 28 Tests. Arif Ali / AFP
Saeed Ajmal has taken 147 wickets from just 28 Tests. Arif Ali / AFP

Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan off-spinner, has said the only differences between Dav Whatmore, the national coach, and his two Pakistani predecessors were the salary package and the language barrier.

Ajmal told Geo Super, the television sports channel, that Waqar Younis and Mohsin Khan, the former Pakistan internationals, had handled the players very well during their coaching stints, while Whatmore – an Australian who has coached the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh national teams – “doesn’t have knowhow of our language”.

“It’s just the difference of money which we are giving to [foreign coaches], otherwise there’s no difference,” Ajmal said.

His critcism comes less than two weeks before Pakistan’s Test series against South Africa starts in the UAE.

He also said senior players should be consulted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) before coaches were hired.

Another issue Ajmal raised was regarding pay. The spin bowler said the PCB must start paying its players more money for Test appearances especially since they were getting less money than their international counterparts.

“Players now want to just play one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches because they are earning more from these formats,” he said. “We don’t get the same financial rewards for playing Tests.

“The problem is that in our country there is little difference in the fees paid out for all three formats and we are not playing as many Tests compared to most other countries.

“I have played just 28 Tests in six years so the opportunities to earn well from this format are less compared to ODIs or T20s,” added Ajmal.

Pakistan play fewer Tests than most because the other teams do not want to tour the country due to security concerns.

“I would advise our board to not only raise Test match fees ... but also create a big difference in the fees paid for all three formats,” said Ajmal, 35, who has taken 147 Test wickets and 146 wickets in 92 ODIs.

“Test cricket should form the basis for our doing well in the other formats. Unless we excel in the longer form we will face a crisis.

“There is too much Twenty20 cricket and that is hurting Test cricket.”

Pakistan host a two-Test series against South Africa in the UAE this month. The first game in Abu Dhabi starts on October 14.

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