Grant Flower believes Imam-ul-Haq is destined to have an excellent career for Pakistan

Waseem Ahmed 16/08/2019
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Pakistan opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq.

Former Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower is backing Imam-Ul-Haq to have a highly successful international career if he continues to develop on the promise he has shown so far.

Imam has so far struck seven tons and six half-centuries in 36 ODI appearances for Pakistan but the left-hander has continued to face increased scrutiny by virtue of being the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq who recently stepped down as the selection chief.

Flower, whose contract as batting coach of Pakistan was not renewed after the World Cup, believes Babar Azam and Imam are the two most improved batsmen from his five-year stint with the Men in Green.

“Babar Azam’s the obvious one,” Flower told ESPNcricinfo in an interview when asked about the most improved Pakistan batsman.

“But also Imam-ul-Haq, I think he’s really improved. You’re going to see a lot more of him because he’s very driven.

“As long as he doesn’t get too far ahead of himself, I think he’s going to have a really good career.”

Flower (c) had a five-year stint as Pakistan batting coach.

Flower (c) had a five-year stint as Pakistan batting coach.

Adding on his thoughts on Babar, Flower said, “He’s probably the best bloke I’ve ever coached – certainly the best Pakistani I’ve ever coached.”

While he has been encouraged by the progress of Babar and Imam, the former Zimbabwe international has been dismayed by Fakhar Zaman’s inability to kick on from his electric start to life in international cricket.

“I’ve worked quite a lot with him (Fakhar), but he’s got such a different technique to others,” said Flower.

“He’s quite hard to work with, even though he’s a lovely guy. There’s a lot of rawness about him, but his results have been very inconsistent.

“But I think he’s good enough to make something of it, but he’s got a lot of work to do.”

Pakistan’s fifth-place finish in the 2019 World Cup has resulted in the non-renewal of the contracts of the entire coaching staff including head coach Mickey Arthur. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has already invited applications for the new head coach of the side with reports in Pakistan suggesting that former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq could be in consideration for the job.

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Bangladesh Cricket Board to seek clarity from Mashrafe Mortaza on his future plans

Waseem Ahmed 16/08/2019
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Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) intend to meet ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza in the near future to seek clarity over his international future.

Mortaza’s Bangladesh future has been the subject of heavy speculation ever since the World Cup in England drew to a close with the 35-year-old picking up just the one wicket in his eight appearances in the tournament.

The right-armed seamer has been hampered by knee injuries for some time now and recently pulled out of the side’s tour of Sri Lanka due to a hamstring injury. That the Bangladesh skipper was elected as a member of the parliament earlier this year has added further fuel to rumours that he will be retiring from international cricket from very soon.

“We don’t know what is going on in his mind,” BCB president Nazmul Hasan told Cricbuzz.

“Let him come [from his village where he is celebrating Eid] and we are hoping to sit with him to know about his future plan],” the BCB supremo added.

Mortaza has declined drastically as a player.

Mortaza has declined drastically as a player.

According to the report by Cricbuzz, the BCB is looking to arrange a solitary ODI fixture to give Mortaza a deserved send-off but are finding it hard to schedule one. The Tigers are set to take on Afghanistan in a one-off Test next month before hosting a T20 tri-series also involving Zimbabwe.

The plan for the BCB is to organise a one-off ODI against Zimbabwe somewhere between the Test and T20 tri-series but the board will first seek clarity from Mortaza on his plans before they proceed.

Mortaza is only active in the ODI format for Bangladesh but there is no other 50-over game scheduled for the national team before the clashes against Ireland in June, 2020. Hence, the board are hoping that they can arrange a solitary fixture against Zimbabwe next month to give the skipper a farewell game.

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Ravi Shastri retained as head coach of India, bags a new two-year contract

Sudhir Gupta 16/08/2019
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Ravi Shastri remains in the India hot seat.

Ravi Shastri has been retained as the head coach of India after he was announced as the preferred choice of the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on Friday.

Shastri beat competition from New Zealand’s Mike Hesson, Australia’s Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh after the five shortlisted candidates interviewed for the job before the Kapil Dev-led CAC on Friday.

Hesson was the second most preferred choice among the candidates for the CAC with Moody being the third preference.

The CAC had earlier shortlisted six candidates for the role including Phil Simmons but the former West Indies and Ireland coach pulled out of the running at the last hour citing personal reasons.

Shastri and Moody appeared for their interview with the CAC via Skype on Friday while Hesson, Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput made the journey to the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai to appear before the panel.

Shastri is currently with the Indian team in the West Indies after the support staff were given a 45-day extension for the ongoing tour and he will now sign a new two-year contract with the BCCI which is set to run until the 2021 T20 World Cup.

The rest of Shastri’s support cast including the batting, bowling and fielding coaches will be selected by the MSK Prasad-led senior selection committee.

Shastri was already being seen as a favourite to retain his job due to his excellent equation with skipper Virat Kohli and the former India all-rounder was given an automatic entry into the recruitment process after the BCCI invited applications for the role.

In Shastri’s previous tenure, India managed to bag their maiden Test series win on Australian soil while also reaching the top of the Test rankings. The Men in Blue recorded a maiden ODI series win on South African soil as well under Shastri but had to face a semi-final exit at the hands of New Zealand in the recently concluded 2019 World Cup.

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