Sports: Cricket: We need specialists in our teams: Sallu

Karachi: Although Pakistan defeated host New Zealand in T20 series 2-1 but a 5-0 whitewash in ODIs and U-19 team’s massive 203-run defeat in U-19 World Cup semifinals are appalling and there’s a dire need to bring specialists in both sides.

“We need a good coach for the U-19 side just as India has one in Rahul Dravid. Players like Salim Malik, Zahid Fazal, Moin Khan and Ramiz Raja directly made it to the Test side after playing U-19 cricket without graduating from domestic first class cricket. So, U-19 is an important stage and I think performance of U-19 team somewhat depicts future of national side,” Sallu told.

He said losing the semifinal was not a big deal but losing by such a big margin was something that concerns him.

“It was the same pitch where India U-19 team scored 272 runs. However, our youngsters accumulated only 69 runs in response. That’s something that should ring alarm bells,” he added.

He added that we need to do something to train our young batsmen. “Younis Khan may be hired to groom the youngsters while Mohammad Yousuf may work on their technique. I feel it’s time we do something about it to have quality batsmen in future for our national side. We just saw that our batting line badly struggled in ODI series against host New Zealand.”

However, he praised Pakistan U-19 team’s manager Nadeem Khan for his administrative skills. “No complaints came regarding U-19 team’s behaviour during New Zealand tour and other tours that U-19 team embarked on before landing in New Zealand for World Cup”.

Sallu further said that on most occasions in the senior’s ODI series, top batting order struggled and only tail-enders managed to put some respectable score.

“When top five players couldn’t put some respectable score on board then it’s difficult to save a match. That’s what happened in New Zealand,” he added.

He further said that experiments with openers also took its toll on the team. He added that Pakistan is yet to see a capable opening pair since Saeed Anwar and Aamer Sohail.

“Opening, like wicket-keeping is a specialist job. I think we should take it seriously and pick specialist openers. I think it’s time that Shan Masood and Khurram Manzoor should be given chance,” the former Test player said.

“Fakhar Zaman has been playing well and in T20s, where we won the series against New Zealand, top order clicked and it won us the series. So, in order to win matches, top order batsmen have to perform,” he said.

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