During his days as a player, Inzamam-ul-Haq was famous for his laidback approach on and off the field. Since taking over as head coach of Afghanistan in November, the laidback attitude has been replaced by an urgency to get the players on their toes as soon as he enters the practice area.
The former Pakistan skipper kept a sharp watch on the proceedings, sharing feedback and making sure there was no laxity despite Thursday being his 46th birthday. Along with former India bowler Manoj Prabhakar, who has been brought on board as bowling coach, Inzamam is busy chalking out plans for Afghanistan’s World T20 campaign.
“I am enjoying my stint. They are a talented bunch and keen on improving. We couldn’t qualify for the Asia Cup but now I am hoping we make it to the next stage in World T20. It’s important that the players get a chance to play against the big nations as that is the only way they can improve,” he said, ahead of the team’s first warm-up match against The Netherlands on Friday 4 at the PCA Stadium.
One did not associate Inzamam with physical fitness, but as coach he is making sure that the team achieves the required fitness levels.
“We are still to reach international standards but are focused on improving,” he said.
Left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran said Inzamam’s presence has been a blessing for the team. “Inzamam’s experience has been a good thing. He has instilled a lot of confidence in me and more importantly his tips have been helpful in handling pressure and match situations. Since he joined the team, my bowling has improved,” said Zadran, who grew up trying to emulate Shoaib Akhtar.
Zadran said though Inzamam was a strict coach when it came to implementing the game-plan or during practice, he was also flexible.
“I have heard from Pakistan players that Inzamam was very strict as a captain. As coach too he is strict. But he knows the importance of relaxation and what a player needs to do in terms of batting and bowling in order to fulfill his role in the team. At the same time, he makes sure that we maintain minimum fitness standards,” he added.