The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Main ek book hoon... Let the players read, says Miandad
- ĎSomebody with a good defence can play for as long as he wantsí

Rawalpindi: Javed Miandadís presence among the all-time great batsmen isnít disputed, yet the jury is out on his performance as Pakistanís coach. Miandad, a former captain, spoke to The Telegraph on quite a few issues the other day.

The following are excerpts

Q In the past fortnight, Test cricket has seen one triple (Virender Sehwagís 309) and Brian Laraís 400 not out. What, in your opinion, are the qualities an A-grade batter must possess'

A More than anything else, the ability to score... Uske baad, defence hoonda hona chahiye... Somebody with a good defence can play for as long as he wants... The other qualities are the obvious ones ó technique, which comes from proper grounding, and temperament.


Of course, that has to be counted... Thereís little point making runs against the weaker teams and struggling versus the top ones... Halki team ke khilaf run karne se kya faida'

So, who would qualify in your top five'

Look, this may create some controversy... Iíd rather not name anybody... Sabhi acche hain...

Among contemporaries, who stood out'

Well, I played in an extraordinary era... Iíll pick Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards and Greg Chappell... Actually, there was a time when most teams had half-a-dozen big names. ... It was an era of quality... Today, only Australia consistently turns out quality players óperhaps, because the structure is fantastic.

Should the Australian model be emulated'

It has to be adapted to the environment of the country in question... Itís not that India and Pakistan donít throw up exceptional talent... The issue is bringing about uniformity and strengthening cricket at the grassroots ó schools, colleges, clubs... Even at the first-class level, the wickets must be good and the emerging players should get opportunities to rub shoulders with the biggest names. Improvement to tab ho ga...

When young, who made the biggest impression on you'

Mushtaq Mohammed... One didnít then have live TV coverage and, so, I learnt by playing with and against the stars... Khelte-khlete, maine kaafi kuch seekha... However, in those days, cricket wasnít that organised.

From the mid Seventies till now, cricket has changed...

(Interrupting) The basics havenít... But, yes, we have physical trainers and dieticians and... Yet, I donít think they make a significant difference otherwise longevity wouldnít have been a feature of the earlier generations.

Whatís the contribution of a coach'

Khali bata sakta hai... Fine-tuning kar sakta hai... Thatís it... Out in the middle, the player has to perform... (After a pause) Dennis Lillee has been coming to India for years but, frankly, how many Lillees have you produced' Even the best coach will have limitations.

So, whatís your role'

Iím part of a collective effort... Certain things, though, have to be sorted out before players reach the highest level ó for example, the run-up... If a chap has a problem, he ought to be at the academy.

Do you need a bowling coach to help out'

I havenít given it much thought... Let me first hear what the Board feels... Quite a few things are going to be discussed at the review once this series ends.

Itís said you get very emotional. Whatís your style'

(Grins) I visualise situations... Thereís plenty of mental activity involved...Basically, I have a hands-on approach... Agar problem hai, to main khud nets pe jaa ke dikhata hoon...

Why did you quit in 1999'

Thatís past... Itís history... Aap aaj ki baat karen.

Have you admired any coach'

No... I try to impart everything I learnt as an international cricketer for 20 years... Main ek book hoon... Let the players read.

Are you a big one for computers...

(Interrupting again) But who has invented the computer' Human beings donít owe their existence to the computer, but the computer does owe its existence to humans...Theek hai, thereís a role for lap tops and computer analysts, but just a blueprint gets prepared. For implementation, human skills are required.

Youíre quite sensitive to criticism...

Must never get personal.

Last week, you threatened to quit if scathing criticism from some former players and sections of the Media continued. Were you serious'

(Grins again) Itís not that I want to accept Ďdefeatí, but those who criticise should realise that certain boundaries ought not to be breached. At times, Iíve thought of quitting, but well-wishers have insisted I stay on and try to bring about changes from within...

To talk of captaincy, the turnover continues to be high in Pakistan...

As I told you some years ago, captaining Pakistan or India is a thankless job... Kaptani se dhakke mar ke nikala jata hai.

You must be delighted with this Revival Series...

Absolutely... The gains wonít only be short-term... Hopefully, generations will benefit... This region wants peace, the world wants peace... This tour has played its part towards that... In the past few weeks, khali pyaar-mohabaat dikha hai.

The last question: Is it true that, besides sledging, you sang ghazals out in the middle'

Woh ek aur zamana tha... At times, yes... Either while batting or fielding... Helped me stay involved if the going was dull...

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