Facilities, fitness key: Ahmed

Kathmandu, May 13:

Former Pakistani International and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Academy coach Ijaz Ahmed emphasised on the need of better facilities and fitness of players for the development of Nepali cricket.

Ahmed was here as the coach of the PCB Academy team that played three friendly matches with the Nepali national team. “This was a short tour and I enjoyed a lot,” said Ahmed. “The facilities here are not upto the mark and players lack fitness,” he said.

“These are the key areas in which Nepali cricket board and the Asian Cricket Council should work on,” added Ahmed, who played 60 Test matches scoring 3315 runs including 12 centuries. He also played 250 ODIs scoring 6564 runs including 12 centuries. He was nick-named Axeman for the way he used to chop down at the ball outside off stump during his hey days.

Praising the crowd, Ahmed said: “The crowd was very lively which is a positive sign for the Nepali cricket. The craze as well as interest is there, now all the responsibilities go to the governing body.”

He also emphasised the need of the academy and special attention to the age-group players for the development of the sport. “A lot of young talents should come and play in the academies, so that the nation could find quality players,” he said adding the country needed few good coaches who visit across for talent hunt.

Ahmed also said that Nepal should have more grounds with different pitches. “You can’t just develop cricket playing in one ground and on the same pitch every time,” he conceded.

Asked the level of the Nepali cricket in comparison to Pakistan, Ahmed said: “Probably Miles away.” The former Pakistan international said he aimed to be the coach of Pakistani team some day. “I was offered the job of fielding coach in the national team, but I refused as I wanted to go by the process,” said Ahmed, arguably the best fielder Pakistan have produced till date.