Bengaluru, July 14: Grant Flower, the former Zimbabwe batsman, in his role as the Pakistan batting coach endured fulfillment and frustration in equal measure during his little over three-year stint. Flower's finest moment came when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy 2017 in England last month, beating India.
Flower told OneIndia that it's exciting to see a young team doing well in a global competition and worried less of the possibility that the Pakistan Cricket Board may not extend his contract. Zimbabwe's series win too was a part of the conversation
How has been your three-year stint with Pakistan as a batting coach?
I really enjoyed it. It has been exciting and frustrating at times but been with them for three years nearly, so must be doing something right. It's really exciting to see some of the talent coming through and, hopefully, I will be there for a while longer to work with that.
The significance of the CT2017 for a young Pakistan team?
It was a bit unexpected, to be honest. But after the start we had against India in the opening game we could only get better. The pressure was huge on all teams during a tournament like that but somehow we got better with each game. It's a huge thing for the young players. Hopefully, they will stay humble and build on it instead of letting it go in to there head and rest on their laurels.
Two long-serving seniors - Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq - have retired. How do you view the talent coming through?
They will certainly be hugely missed. But that's the great thing about cricket - no one's irreplaceable. There is definitely enough talent coming through- it needs fine tuning - mentally, technically and tactically.
Fakhar Zaman, though looks a bit unorthodox and a strong bottom-hand batsman - seems to be a good find for Pakistan?
He was a bit shaky and, obviously, lucky in the first 10 overs. But once he got his feet moving, Fakhar took the game away from India. He showed a lot of character the way he turned his innings around and took on the spinners. He's very unorthodox. But sometimes the unorthodox are the hardest to bowl to but, yes, there's lots of fine tuning to be done. He has a great attitude and is not scared of failure.
Azhar Ali, who has been viewed as a Test batsman, seemed to have taken a few strides as an ODI player too...
I believe good players can adapt, and he's a very good player. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, but I believe he definitely has an ODI future and can expand his game even more.
What could be the role two seniors - Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez - play for Pakistan in the coming days?
Obviously, there skills are there and thats why they have been around for so many years. They both played brilliantly in the final ODI game against the West Indies recently to win us the series and showed all their experience to the full. Post our disastrous opener in the Champions Trophy against India, they both said some very honest words in the change room and I believe this proved to be a catalyst for a change of fortune and attitude with how the guys went about their work from then on.
You must be very happy to see Zimbabwe notching up a series win against Sri Lanka...
I am extremely happy for Zimbabwe. They played some great cricket in a very tight series. I think both teams are going through a transitional period and people have to be patient. Heath (Streak) is the new head coach and Sri Lanka have an interim coach. Both sets of players have lots of new faces and, obviously, there always seems to be a certain amount of politics in both countries. Hopefully, they will be on track soon and that could only be good for cricketing world.
So, can we hope to see the strong Zimbabwe side of some years ago, of which you were also an integral part, re-emerging?
It would be ideal if some current Zimbabwe players who are in the county scene in England go back and play for the country. But can't see that happening, the earlier politics that I was mentioning. There is a new CEO of Zimbabwe cricket, so hopefully, that brings some stability. If the current group stick together, and Zimbabwe cricket get enough exposure to a lot more international cricket, then hopefully Heath can take them forward. I see Zimbabwe very similar to Pakistan, regarding dealing with adversity. So, it won't be through lack of courage or character, that things don't improve.