Read part one of the interview here
Pakistan have 14 ODIs scheduled between now and next September, the cut-off date for qualifying directly for the 2019 World Cup in England. How realistic are their chances of making it to the World Cup without having to play the qualifiers, given they are ranked No. 9?
I have to be realistic. We haven't got the time, but we have started the journey now. We will have to start again. I have got a really good feel for the personnel and the areas we need to improve on. I have looked at people we can work with, people we can bring in, and I am comfortable we will be okay.
Do you reckon Pakistan are behind the curve compared to the modern ODI teams?
With the brand of cricket they are playing, definitely. We can't play that brand of cricket anymore. We have to be brave. You have to take the game on.
Not playing in the IPL and other premier T20 leagues - do you reckon that has hurt their understanding and development of limited-overs cricket?
And facilities and the domestic competitions, which are average. You can't blame them. Then they are potentially fighting for places all the time. There has been no stability [in the ODI side]. They start playing for themselves. We have a massive challenge in our ODI team.
Fitness is amplified in one-day cricket - fielding, running ones, twos, threes. Sometimes in an over you are running six twos. If you are not fit enough, you can't run those runs. It is to the detriment of the team. Without a doubt, that message has started getting across. But it can only go across to the players if I am consistently delivering it. I am not going to tolerate players turning up unfit. They are professional athletes representing a country. It is not good enough [being unfit].
"I want us to play an attacking brand of cricket, a brand that is good to watch, a brand that inspires the players to play and gives you so much more gratification from your supporters"
Why was Mohammad Irfan not played in the Ireland ODI series? A bowler like him could have done with some overs under his belt considering he had not played for a few months?
Irfan came into the ODI squad as a replacement for [Mohammad] Hafeez, so he wasn't with us [in Ireland]. That made it even worse for me because your replacement players are the ones with the fresh legs. They are the people who up the ante, who bring in fresh energy. And he comes in and starts cramping. That potentially cost us an ODI [in Cardiff].
But he just got off the plane. That could have played a part in the cramps, considering his height. And about two days later he plays in the Cardiff ODI. Can you entirely blame him?
Funnily enough, a couple of bowlers cramped in the same ODI, but they were fit enough to get back and finish their overs with the intensity required.
I don't want to harp about Irfan. It could be about any other player that joins the squad in the future. I get disappointed when players arrive and are not at peak condition. Ultimately that is the reflection of the set-up I run. Ultimately that is the reflection of me and my support staff. We are judged by that, so I am not going to tolerate guys that jeopardise that. And it is not a Mohammad Irfan thing. It is an integral part of the Pakistan system. If I can change and make it 10% or 15% better, we have a better chance of success. I sat down the T20 squad and told them: when you arrive, you need to understand the standards demanded by this set-up; that you come in and meet minimum requirements. And those minimum requirements are lower than what South Africa or Australia have. I am taking baby steps at this point of time.
Discipline is another aspect where you think things can improve. Can you talk about the example of Yasir Shah turning up two days late for camp when you first arrived in Pakistan?
We thought he was arriving on Friday, but he came on Sunday. I had just arrived at the NCA. I am not sure what the communication between him and the PCB was, but I asked him, "Hey Yas, weren't you supposed to be here on Friday?" He said, "Yeah, coach, I'm just two days late. It's okay." We both had a laugh and I went back to my room and thought, "Gee, he is being serious." I hope he was joking.
That sort of thing will not happen again even if it was true?
Are you going to take hard decisions in terms of players?
I think we have to. If we keep picking the same [players], we are going to get the same, and we will be sitting at No. 9 in the world. We have nothing to lose. We just have to invest in some players. I know for a fact that from the first ODI to the fifth [in England], we changed the whole brand and style of cricket.
In the first ODI, in Southampton, we played like cricket was played back in 2002. By the last ODI, in Cardiff, we chased down 302 with overs to spare. We took the attack to England. That is how we have to play. If we play the way we did in Southampton, we are not going to win the game.
Grant Flower said he sensed insecurity among some ODI players, which was holding them back from expressing their game openly. Have you seen the same?
Maybe there was [a sense of insecurity] with the old regime. In fact, probably there was. I would like to be able to think we can identify the players we can take forward and then invest time in them. Create clear roles for them and hopefully we will get the results. Because if we want them to play high-risk, high-octane stuff, we ought to back them for a period of time as well.
You have seen various players in the PSL. What do you think of the pair of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad making a comeback in the ODI set-up?
They have to prove that they are not going to be a disruption to the team, because clearly in the past they have done things that weren't right. I was not there, but clearly they have. They have to conform to the standards and requirements of the team.
"I get disappointed when players arrive and are not at peak condition. Ultimately that is the reflection of me and my support staff. We are judged by that, so I am not going to tolerate guys that come in and jeopardise that"
Azhar Ali, Pakistan's ODI captain, is a committed player. But is he really a modern ODI cricketer?
He is. He is getting better. He is a fantastic batsman. Azhar's batting ability is brilliant, which means he can adapt without a doubt. Again, in the ODI series against England, he adapted throughout, so he is good enough.
What about Shoaib Malik? He is the most experienced, yet that is not reflected in his numbers (in ODIs he averages 26.80 with the bat outside Asia, 38.72 in Asia, 24.41 in Australia, where Pakistan go on their next tour, and 12.94 in 19 innings in England, where the next Champions Trophy will be played next year).
He knows where he stands. I was so happy to see him come out in Cardiff and play with a real intent that had probably been lacking just a little bit. I am talking about intent in his defence, intent in his attack. He committed to every shot. He was committed to that innings. I was so happy he came through that.
Is there a reason he bats in the lower order?
That was me. I wanted a guy that could finish for us. No. 6 is such an important and tough position in the batting order. Michael Hussey did it for Australia for a period of time. To be able to close off a run chase or finish off when you are setting a target is a real skill. And I wanted Shoaib Malik to do that. We promoted him to No. 4 in Cardiff and he gave us what he wanted, so maybe his role changes now, going forward.
You said this recently: "I don't want us to fear failure. I think any team that fears failure is a team that struggles." Why did you say that?
I don't want us to be tentative, whether it is with bat, ball or in the field. I want us to be 100% committed to the decisions we make, because if we do that, we'll have a lot more chances of success than failure. I want us to play an attacking brand of cricket, a brand that is good to watch, a brand that inspires the players to play and gives you so much more gratification from your supporters. It must be a brand that challenges, a brand that stimulates, but it must be a brand that is encapsulated by fun.
You need time to help build and grow that kind of brand. Is the PCB willing to give you that?
I am pretty sure the PCB will give me the time. Definitely.
Read part one of the interview here