Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Gurbaz is going to be a sensation, hope he can be picked in the IPL: Klusener. Rahmanullah Gurbaz has made rapid strides as a T20 batter.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz has made rapid strides as a T20 batter.
Former Afghanistan national team head coach Lance Klusener is currently in-charge of the Khulna Tigers in BPL. In a chat with Cricbuzz, Klusener looks back at his challenging stint with a national team, the Rashid Khan situation before the T20 WC, his coaching philosophies and more…
When you left Afghanistan, you said that you are looking forward to the next stage of your coaching career? What is that and in what direction is that taking you?
I thoroughly enjoyed working with some countries like I have done with Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and South Africa. It gives you lot of time to work with players and the focus there is you can work a little bit and spend some time on improving players techniques, for example whether it be batting or bowling. Whereas leagues like BPL provides different challenges where it is more of getting players into the right mental state to perform. I enjoy the combination of both of those like working in a national team for example as well as having a little bit of variations doing franchise cricket as well.
Under your guidance Afghanistan did quite well: You won a Test, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is. How do you look back at your stint? Did you expect more, say from the T20 WC?
I thought we were extremely unlucky in the game against Pakistan. We needed 18 runs in the last over and really we were six balls away from having a fantastic World Cup to be honest. Win three games out of five would have been fantastic so a little bit disappointed that we didn't get over the line against Pakistan. But you know the people of Afghanistan and the people of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India there are always under pressure to perform because people have high expectations and that comes with the territory. But I thought our World Cup was pretty decent you know. [It was] always going to be difficult against big teams you know like India for example. Pakistan we thought we got so close and that hurt us a little bit but I don't think we had a poor World Cup and we were just six balls away from a fantastic victory against Pakistan.
Afghanistan had a refreshingly aggressive batting approach at the World Cup. How did you manage to instil this batting philosophy?
Something that I worked very hard what I bring in to the party and that is one of my strength is teaching that (express yourself freely in the middle) and one of the good thing is that in Afghanistan most of them come from street cricket and tape-ball cricket where boundary hitting is what they do and there is no running or strike rotation, something that we tried to work on in the national team of Afghanistan. There is not a lot of technical coaching and so they are pretty free in terms of how they swing and how they play. It was something we encouraged as a coaching team in Afghanistan but at the same time boys worked pretty hard on their boundary hitting as well.
Did the Rasdhid Khan captaincy situation just before the tournament have an impact?
No, I don't think it played any part. It was unfortunate you know when he said he was stepping down. But I admire his principles and the fact that he was not comfortable with (the situation that was prevailing at that point of time) and I admire his principles in doing that and also you know the senior players in Afghanistan play a major role anyway in leading the team whether it was Asghar, Nabi or Rashid or someone else it would be a continuation. It was unfortunate that Rashid did step down but also need to really just commend his doing that because he felt that he was uncomfortable with what was going on.
You are very excited about Rahmanullah Gurbaz? Where do you see him after five years?
If he continues to improve and keeps working very hard and stays extremely fit, I think he is going to be a sensation. I really hope that he can get picked in the IPL because I think he is a fantastic young cricketer and someone who is learning all the time. I think he is gonna provide the cricketing world and the cricketing spectators with lot of entertainment going forward.
What is the state of fast bowling now in Afghanistan, a team that keeps producing spinners?
When I was there, I had Shaun Tait working there and he is a fantastic bowling coach. Unfortunately Tait was not there (due to Covid-19) and he was there for only six months but it takes a lot longer to develop your fast bowlers but in saying that guy like Naveen ul Haq and Karim Janat had come through with Shaun Tait. There are still some good fast bowlers but always as you mentioned the strength of Afghanistan is that we had been blessed with some fantastic spinners and it's always difficult for your fast bowlers to break through. Guys like Nabi, Rashid, Mujeeb and Qais Ahmed and and we have got lot of options there so it is difficult for fast bowlers. But at the same time they need somebody who can nurture those young fast bowlers because that becomes important when you go to South Africa, England and Australia where the pitch is a little bit more seamers friendly.
How do you rate Shahidi as Test captain and what is your take on Afghanistan's Test team?
I haven't worked with him much as the captain. He is extremely passionate and he is coming from a double century in Test cricket and that was fantastic. He is extremely dedicated and works really hard but I guess time will tell. Afghanistan cricket is a tough place and a tough place to captain. Hopefully he can have the backing of the board and the people that count and yeah he is most likely be successful captain.
What is the biggest challenge for you now as a coach on the franchise circuit?
I think it's getting your team to gel together as soon as possible. You always work with talent which is great but I guess it's getting even your local players to gel with overseas players and that is something first on my list really because it's not really about talent because I think that's a given in franchise cricket it's just really making sure that people are believing each other and trusting each other off the field as well.
Do you regret missing out on the T20 format as a player considering it would have suited your style of play?
Yes, probably. I would say I was extremely unlucky to have missed out. I guess as a player but on the other hand I would say I am extremely lucky to be coaching at this environment. So as a player, unlucky, but certainly as a coach I am extremely lucky that I am blessed to be able to coaching in a franchise competition like BPL and so bittersweet I guess.