Former Zimbabwe batting all rounder Grant Flower, who coached the Pakistani batsmen for 5 years between 2014 to 2019, revealed that there were some characters in the dressing room who did not take well to his advice.
Speaking on the Following On Cricket Podcast, Flower narrated an incident which took place in Pakistan’s tour to Australia in 2016/17 when Younis Khan, after being dismissed for a first ball duck in the first innings, disagreed with his batting tips, so much so that he brought a knife to his throat and Mickey Arthur had to intervene.
Flower, younger brother of former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper and former England head coach Andy, said, “Younis Khan… quite tough to master. Obviously, a brilliant career. I remember one incident in Brisbane, during the Test, at breakfast I tried to give him a bit of batting advice, not that my career was anywhere near his regarding stats, as he is the highest scorer in Pakistan Test cricket.”
“But he didn’t take kindly to my advice and brought a knife to my throat, with Mickey Arthur sitting alongside, who had to intervene. Yeah, it’s been interesting. But that’s part of coaching. It makes it a hell of a journey, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am.”
Younis Khan scored a duck in the first innings of that Test, but followed that up with a gritty 147 ball 65 in the second innings. Chasing a humongous target of 490 in the fourth innings, Pakistan fell short by only 39 runs.
Mickey Arthur, the head coach of Pakistan at that time, clarified the situation, after the incident was narrated. In an interview to PakPassion’s Saj Sadiq, Arthur said, “It was a dining knife that Younis Khan had in his hand. I calmed Younis down and just wanted him to get runs in the second innings which thankfully he did.”
Flower, who played 67 Tests and 221 One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe, scoring 3,457 and 6,571 runs respectively, named Ahmed Shehzad as another ‘interesting’ person in the Pakistan team. He said, “He is a very skilful batter, but quite rebellious. Every team has got their rebel. Sometimes it makes them better players, sometimes maybe not so.”
Flower, now part of the Sri Lanka coaching staff, had said last year, when his contract had not been renewed, that one of the things he would not miss about being in Pakistan were the ‘backstabbing ex-players’.