Azhar Mahmood: ‘PCB should think about hiring psychologist’

Denzil Pinto 14:09 16/10/2014
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Concerned: Azhar Mahmood.

Azhar Mahmood suggests the Pakistan Cricket Board must seriously consider hiring a psychologist to improve the team’s mental strength which is very low following a series of poor displays recently.

Pakistan are winless in five one-day internationals, having lost two series against Sri Lanka and Australia in succession.

They also lost the Test series in Sri Lanka two months ago. Mahmood, a Pakistan veteran of 21 Tests and 143 ODIs, admits batting is a concern but he warns too much chopping and changing could hamper the team’s growth.

“The shot selection isn’t right from all the players and their temperament and dedication is not there,” he told Sport360° yesterday.

“They have the potential but need to focus on the field and perform and get over the line.

“When you play international cricket, you just can’t keep making the same mistakes again. I think the selectors need to pick the best players from now on and give them six to eight months and be told by the management that these players will play and won’t be dropped.

“There needs to be more stability in the team and the players must be given the confidence that they are the future. Most of them will be thinking if they play a bad shot, they won’t be playing in the next game. These kind of things never give any confidence to the player.”

He added: “Pakistan definitely needs a sports psychologist in their team. We have the coaches but we need someone who can speak to the guys and tell them to forget the past and look to the future.”

The all-rounder, who will be conducting a T20 camp at Dubai’s ICC Academy next week, believes there will be no pressure on Pakistan at next year’s World Cup.

He said: “No-one is expecting Pakistan to win the World Cup and they just need to go with a fresh mind. On their day, they can beat any team so they just need to play free cricket.”

The 39-year-old insists Pakistan are not favourites to win the Test series.

“You can’t take Australia lightly. They play well in any condition,” he added.

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