PCB appoints sports psychologist ahead of World Cup

Pakistani cricket authorities have decided to appoint Taimoor Ali Khan as a sports psychologist for the national team prior to the World Cup.

Taimoor Ali Khan has been appointed till May 11 to be with the Pakistan team, which will be leaving for England on April 23.   -  AFP Photo

Pakistani cricket authorities have decided to appoint Taimoor Ali Khan as a sports psychologist for the national team prior to their World Cup campaign in England.

Taimoor has been apparently recommended by the national team’s bowling coach Azhar Mahmood.

He has been appointed till May 11 to be with the Pakistan team which will be leaving for England on April 23 to play some practice games against County teams, a T20 international and five ODIs against England before World Cup practice games start.

“Taimoor will be working with the players on the mental aspect of preparing for a mega-event like the World Cup and if required the board can extend his contract for the World Cup but for now he will be with the team until May 11,” a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board said.

This is not the first time that the Pakistani cricket authorities have sought the help of a qualified sports psychologist to work with the players.

Taimoor also worked with the Pakistan team during the recent one-day series against Australia in the UAE.

“He was with the players for the five matches and held sessions with most of the players including batsman, Umar Akmal,” the source said.

In the past, sports psychologists have been hired to have counselling sessions with players like Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal who despite their proven talent have not established themselves in the national team due to other issues like attitude, discipline and game sense.

“The PCB is hoping that the sports psychologist’s presence will help the players prepare mentally for the World Cup and he will have ample time to hold sessions with the players,” the source said.

The national selectors are due to announce the World Cup squad on April 18 after fitness tests but indications are that the selectors will also name three reserve players who will travel to England with the team.

Participating nations in the World Cup can make changes in their squads until May 23 after which any changes have to be approved by the technical committee of the ICC event.