Zahid delighted with progress under Arthur

Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Zahid is pleased with the progress made by the national team under new head coach, South African, Mickey Arthur.

Zahid also expressed his delight at the performances of the Pakistan limited-overs teams and the often criticised ODI captain Azhar Ali.

In his blog for PakPassion.net, Zahid wrote: "Coaching the Pakistan team is a thankless task and Mickey must have known that when he accepted the role. It is one of the toughest jobs in sport especially with the divisions and groupings in Pakistan cricket and within the dressing room and beyond. 

"There is so much interference from outside cricket and from the PCB hierarchy which makes the job a very tough one and credit goes to Mickey for the excellent start he has made. 

"He is an intelligent man and someone who is battle-hardened when it comes to coaching international teams."

Pakistan's ODI captain Azhar Ali has been under fire since he led the side to a 4-1 defeat in the ODI series during the tour of England recently.

Zahid has backed Ali to succeed and believes his recent performances, in particular, his century in the third ODI against the West Indies will go a long way towards quieting the critics.

The former quick added: I was delighted to see Azhar Ali shut his critics up by scoring the century in the third One-Day international against West Indies. 

"He was put under a lot of pressure and it showed the character of the man after all the questions that were being asked of him by some fans and parts of the media. 

"His captaincy and leadership has improved and people need to remember that it takes time to flourish and improve as a captain. I think Azhar's leadership of the team is improving and I think he is an invaluable player at the top of the order. 

"He needs to be given time and support and I am sure he together with Mickey Arthur will lead the Pakistan One-Day team up the rankings."

When Arthur took over Pakistan were ranked ninth in ODI cricket after the series against the West Indies they have risen to eighth and Zahid has been encouraged by their performances.

Zahid wrote: I've been impressed with the performances of the Pakistan Limited-Overs teams recently. The young legs have really made a huge difference. These young guys have come into the team and have shown a real energy and improved the fitness levels of the team. 

"The fitness levels of the players have been a major problem in Pakistan cricket and exposed us in many a match. In a short space of time, there have been a lot of changes in attitude, in aggression and approach and it's very heartening to see. 

"In addition, the boys are gelling and playing as a team and that also helps as in recent times that has not always been the case." 

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