WELLINGTON: Pakistan cricket batting coach Grant Flower believes that green shirts can still comeback in this series against New Zealand.
“We’ve got a few things to work on such as batting, bowling and fielding and hopefully, we can get it right. There have been some soft dismissals but they have been created by the pressure created by some excellent bowling by the Kiwis,” the coach said.
The struggle of Pakistani batsmen against the bounce offered Down Under has been the major factor involved in the below par performance of Sarfraz’s men, said the coach. “The guys have struggled with the bounce as they have been playing quite a bit in Pakistan and coming here was a bit of a shock to the system even though some of have played here before. We can still come back in this series and the guys are positive about it,” he added.
The former Zimbabwe batsman and one half of the famous Flower brothers was of the view that the Pakistani batsmen need to be quick on their feet to handle the bounce.
“They are also undergoing special training using ‘slab’ to counter the bouncy tracks. So Pakistan batsmen need quick feet to handle the bounce, we also have brought over a slab to practice against exaggerated bounce,” he said. “The pitch here is not the bouncy from what I have seen before bit I am sure given the success the seamers have had against us so far, they will try and make it as bouncy as possible,” he added.
About the third One-Day International against the New Zealand, Grant said: “Green shirts are good players and they don’t become bad players overnight, so there is no reason why we cannot get a good result on Saturday, when they are going to take on Kiwis in the third ODI.”
About the training of Pakistan cricket team, the coach said that the team has been training hard and a good outcome can be expected from them during the third ODI. “It’s a combination of mental and actual hardwork in the training. A lot of it is the mental side of things at this level so we keep on talking positive stuff with the guys and making sure that a lot of positive feedback is going back to the guys.”
Talking about the rain-hit second ODI, the coach said: “The Duckworth Lewis (D/L) method is the same for both the sides. Obviously, the rain didn’t help the other day as the guys struggled with the ball the other day but it’s one of those things, swings-and-roundabouts – sometimes it works for you, sometimes it doesn’t.”
About opening batsman Fakhar Zaman, the batting coach said: “Fakhar should be fit for the next game as he is a navy man, so he should be tough enough to get through this. He landed on the ball in the field but when he batted, he batted bloody well so his thigh stiffened up overnight.”
Replying to a query regarding Pakistan’s realistic chances in the upcoming matches, Grant said: “We haven’t seen the best of this side yet. I hope they will utilize all their skills in the next matches and try to produce the best results. The batting has a lot more to offer so hopefully we will see that and try to overcome high-flying Kiwis in the remaining matches.”
When asked to rate the New Zealand team, the coach said: “We rate this New Zealand team very highly. They have very well-balanced team and also have home ground advantage. While in the field, they are brilliant and they have all bases covered as they bat all the way down.”
Pointing out towards Pakistan cricket team’s performance during the Champions Trophy where green shirts came from behind to not only win crucial matches but also succeeded in clinching the coveted trophy, Grant Flower said: “We won the Champions Trophy, when we were down and out after the first game, but after that the guys gave out their best and turned out to be champions. So for me, there is no reason why we can’t do it again.” With the series 2-0 in favour of New Zealand, Pakistan would eye to shift the momentum in the third ODI to be played tomorrow (Saturday January 13) at Oval at 3:00 AM Pakistani time.