Grant Bradburn – Adopting aggressive style of play ‘a demand, not a request’

Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn has said that Pakistan have bought into the new-look attacking style they adopted against Sri Lanka in the Test series, promising the ODIs would see more of the same being implemented. He also said the players called up to training camps in Lahore and Karachi over the past week had been geared to implement the attacking skills they have demonstrated in the nets in match situations across the series against Afghanistan and the Asia Cup.

“We’re not training to show skills in the nets,” Bradburn said. “We are looking to use those skills in the game. And it’s not a request from coaches to players. It’s a necessity for them to be in the team because that’s the way the game is moving forward globally. We want to play winning cricket. We have to demand that from our players. The game is moving forward all the time. And we want to be leaders of the game.”

While the Pakistan Way wasn’t officially mentioned, the PCB leaned in hard on branding Pakistan’s more belligerent new approach that way throughout the successful tour of Sri Lanka. Bradburn was keen to insist it was a philosophy the side would adopt across formats, and that Pakistan’s selection for the upcoming series had been driven by the approach rather than the other way around.

“In some ways, the selection has been difficult, but in our minds, the selection is being very easy,” he said. “And what I mean by that is we are very clear around our starting XI, we are very clear around our batting approach, the way we want to approach the game. We are very clear around how we want to attack the game, particularly in the middle overs. Pakistan hasn’t been successful in the middle overs as well as we should be. We are working hard on developing some skills to really attack that middle-overs period with some hostility, not only with the bat but with the ball and with our field placings as well. We want to take wickets through that period.”

Among the more contentious selection calls was the return of Faheem Ashraf to the ODI side. Faheem has not played an ODI in over two years and had fallen out of favour across all three formats. While there has been little notable form to make a return inevitable – especially with the bat – Bradburn singled out Faheem’s allrounder credentials, saying a dearth of fast bowling allrounders made him an attractive prospect.

“We have really taken note of the way Faheem has been able to finish games with the bat, particularly in PSL. You would have seen him going to another level in the last year or so”

“I believe that there is no one better at hitting pace bowling at the death than Faheem Ashraf. We really want to develop all around us. There is a lack of pace-bowling allrounders in the country and we have worked hard during the camps and our selections to reflect the fact that we want to promote pace-bowling allrounders. We want to really give opportunities to guys who are dynamic in both forms with the ball, with the bat and in the field.

“Whether we go with a batting allrounder or we take the best bowler, that’s still to be decided and that’s a decision that Mickey [Arthur], myself and Inzi [Inzamam-ul-Haq] will be involved with alongside Babar as well. But it’s good to have him coming back into the one-day mode. We have really taken note of the way Faheem has been able to finish games with the bat, particularly in PSL. You would have seen him going to another level in the last year or so and he is really now starting to use his skills to finish games at the back end with the bat.”

On the subject of Arthur and Pakistan’s somewhat unusual coaching arrangement due to his limited availability, Bradburn insisted the two were on the same page. Arthur is the director of Pakistan men’s cricket team, appointed after the PCB failed to reach an agreement with him to take up the head coach’s job. That elevated Bradburn into the position, which means Pakistan’s backroom staff suddenly looks very similar to the one they had during the 2019 World Cup, with Arthur, Bradburn and Inzamam all a part of the setup.

“Mickey and I are very aligned. We communicate daily and he is very much in tune with where everyone is at. He is very much part of the new direction that we are wanting to take this team. So we are really looking forward to him joining us on the 23rd of August. He will be with us through to the end of the India game in Kandy. And then again, Mickey will be joining us straightaway after the English domestic season and joining us at the World Cup for its entirety and right through the Australian series and New Zealand series as well. We are really looking forward to having Mickey on board, but for me, he is on board every day anyway.”

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