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'Tendulkar has two years left in him'

By Harish Kotian in Dhaka
May 11, 2007 21:23 IST
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India and Pakistan disappointed at the 2007 World Cup, but the men who paid the price for it were the ones who didn't play at all!

Both teams lost their coaches -- Greg Chappell quit after India's early exit, while Pakistan's coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room after his team lost to minnows Ireland.

Now both teams are in search of a new coach, and their boards face a dilemma: appoint a foreign coach to keep up with the latest trends in cricket or go for a native, more familiar with the country's set-up.

While India have appointed Ravi Shastri as a caretaker manager for the Bangladesh tour, Pakistan are yet to name one for the ODI series against Sri Lanka, to be played later this month.

Former Pakistan batsman Mohsin Khan believes both the countries must now look for a home-grown coach.

"If you ask me personally, and it is my sole opinion, I don't believe in foreign coaches who are not from our culture. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the culture is pretty similar. But for a foreign coach, it is a different culture, a different way of living. The coach does not teach a player to play, but his job is a mental job. And mentally we are not clicking with each other, so it is not working," he said on Friday.

"If we have a coach from our part of the world, there is no culture barrier or language barrier. India and Pakistan have both produced great world-class players, so, personally speaking, I am not in favour of a foreign coach," he added.

The 52-year-old believes that Woolmer was a great coach, but he did not produce the desired results for Pakistan.

"Bob Woolmer contributed very well [as a coach], but you see the result. The same result even a Pakistani coach could have given, but this Pakistani coach would have learnt a lot in the two-and-half years that Woolmer served. This is the same case with India," he said.

"I mean if you don't have great ex-players then maybe you can look for a foreign coach," Mohsin added.

The former Pakistan opener was quite a heartthrob during his playing days and even acted in a couple of Bollywood movies. He also married Indian actress Reena Roy, whom he later divorced.

But India, and Indians, still holds a special place in his heart; especially Sachin Tendulkar.

"If I am the captain I would not let him [Sachin] go now. He has got at least two years left in him. He is not a star; a superstar as a cricketer I am talking about. He is still a great player," Mohsin said.

Mohsin, who played 48 Tests and 75 ODIs between 1977-86, believes that Tendulkar will get out of the bad patch he is going through soon.

"Great players get bad patches or purple patches and he has got this bad patch and some fitness problems. Otherwise, as I said earlier, if I am the captain, he is in my team."

Mohsin said India must now look to build their bench strength, the lack of which was exposed in recent months.

"India and Pakistan do not have good bench strength. If you don't have good bench strength people relax. The success of Australia is that they have prepared such a lovely back-up; it is not one player for one player, but it is about two players for one player," he said.

"So, that is the reason you have seen their consistency in the last eight or nine years. Around eight or nine years back Australia was not the team you would say that they would beat the whole world. But now, whenever, whichever tournament Australia is playing, you will say they will win it," Mohsin added.

He also gave his backing to Shoaib Malik, who has been appointed as Pakistan captain.

"It is going to be a test for him. He was never even a vice-captain and now suddenly he has been given an important job. But he is a very talented cricketer. Actually, I coached him when he was playing in the Under-19 team and thereafter I have high regard for him as far as talent and his temperament is concerned," he said.

"Imran Khan when he started off as a captain he was actually a failure. It took him about two to three years to become a good captain; so every captain you have to give some time. You will be very lucky and fortunate if somebody clicks straight away.

"You have to give a new captain, especially a young guy some time. I am not saying five years, but at least a year or so to establish himself," Mohsin added.

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