What’s common between the Pakistan squads that won the 1992 World Cup and the T20 World Cup in 2009?
It’s Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan skipper who was the coach-cum-manager with the Imran Khan-led side and coach of Younis Khan’s current team. The man surely has the Midas touch.
His success has warmed the hearts of people not only on the other side of the border but here in India as well. The soft-spoken cricketer, who was born in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, coached the Punjab Ranji side for two seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
He took the fledgling Punjab side, struggling to reach the semis for the last few seasons, into the final of the Ranji Trophy in the very first season. The second season wasn’t that successful, but he impressed with his cricketing acumen and uncomplicated approach.
“He’s a great man manager. Players often go up and down in their careers, but he always gives confidence to the players. He has the knack of making a player believe that he’s the best player of the team, and extracts the best out of him,” said Dinesh Mongia, the then Punjab skipper. This particular trait would have surely stood him in good stead in a volatile and rift-ridden Pakistan team.
“He was pretty old-fashioned in his methods, and wasn’t too much into technology. But his success shows old methods still holds water if applied properly,” said Mongia.
Pankaj Dharmani, the current Punjab skipper, is also all praise for Alam. “He was very honest with his job. He was also very good in assessing which player could take how much load and how to psyche up a player for a particular event,” said Dharmani.
For ones cricketers and administrators are in agreement. “He knew his cricket like the back of his hand and it was a privilege for all of us to work with him,” said DP Azad of the Punjab Cricket Association.