An Interview with Ijaz Ahmad
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on बुधवार, मे 14, 2008
This interview is copied frow www.cricket.com.np
Ijaz Ahmed, former Pakistan Test and ODI player with experience of four World Cups, was in Nepal as the coach of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Academy. Ahmed, 40 was dubbed the Axeman for his stance and chopping down of the ball outside off-stump with dominant bottom hand grip. He played 250 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 60 Test matches from 1987 to 2001.
His PCB Academy side played three one-day matches against Nepal winning two and suffering an upset loss in the last. At the end of his first ever Nepal visit, Ahmed shared a few thoughts about Nepali cricket and more with NepalCricket.com. Here are the excerpts:
After playing three matches against Nepal, what you have to say about Nepali cricket?
They have the talent; they can build a team, no doubt about it. Only the problem is facilities. If you could give them proper environment and facilities, Nepal can go up. Unless there are facilities, you can not create a good team. Cricketers have the talent, so it now up to management to give them the facilities.
For me, the most important thing is also creating interest among people. Of course there were a good number of people on the last match, but there should be more of them. There were three or four good players playing against us. They played like a team so team spirit is there and that’s a good point.
What one thing of Nepali team impressed you most?
Team spirit. Whenever they got an opportunity, they were all charged up. This is a very good sign for a team dreaming to go at the top level.
What difference you found between Nepali and Pakistani players?
I think, Pakistani players have talent and they got more facilities. Sri Lanka were at one time where Nepal is. Kenya were and Bangladesh were but they provided facilities to the players and that have paid for them.
Did Nepal meet your pre-tour expectations?
Frankly, I expected better than this. I expected better facilities, better environment. When I came to know there is only one ground, it was really disappointing for me.
In terms of cricketing, did you expect such a result in Nepal?
Definitely. You know, cricket is a very funny game. Even one ball can change the match. Any bigger team can fall apart and any weaker team can win. Like Bangladesh Kenya and this year Ireland did to us.
Although my team is not a Pakistan national team, there are four players who have played for Pakistan and others are knocking on the doors. So, I believe it’s a great achievement for Nepal to beat us today. They will now go with higher confidence in the Div 5 and I hope they will win there. And, we will be happy.
What needs to be done to improve Nepali cricket?
There is only one ground. You need more grounds and better pitches. You need flat batting tracks where bowlers get more difficulty bowling to batsmen. For batsmen, it will be easier to score runs, and if they score hundreds, it will build their confidence. You can expect to improve batting of a team making them play on the pitches where they can not make shots, and ball turns and bounces uneven.
What specifically needs to be improved in batting, bowling and fielding?
They need to improve a lot in all that. While batting, they either block it or hit it. They need to improvise which is not there, that’s because of the track. You can get singles at mid-on or mid-off on this turning and uneven bouncing track. If you let them play on batting wickets, they will know how to steal runs.
In bowling, you need to find out heavy built youngsters who can bowl really fast. If you have academy, you need to find such boys of 15 to 16 years old and teach them how to bowl.
Do you feel Nepal can qualify for the World Cup?
Yes. They have started the journey to it. If they get the facilities here, they can make it. And, I am not just saying it, I mean it.