Zaheer Abbas, the former Pakistan captain, has said his country will be better served with a specialist batting coach rather than a sports psychologist to help them perform better and cope with pressure situations, starting from the World Twenty20 in England next month. The Pakistan Cricket Board had, earlier this week, appointed psychologist Maqbool Babri to work with the team in the pre-tournament conditioning camp at a hill resort in Bhurban.

"I don't understand what purpose it will serve to have a sports psychologist give lectures to the players," Abbas told Dawn. "Because it is obvious that the team's main problem is the batting not clicking consistently as it should. The board should think about having a full-time batting coach with the team. And it is clear their fielding also needs to improve."

The poor batting was primarily responsible for the ODI series defeat against Australia in the UAE recently. They were bowled out for 207, 171 and 197 in the three games they lost and that cost them the series. They were well-placed for victory in the third ODI but collapsed due to shoddy shot selection and lost ten wickets for only 76 runs. They rebounded in the fifth ODI, winning the dead rubber by seven wickets before winning the one-off Twenty20 international.

Another former Pakistan international, Mohsin Khan, also didn't support the idea of hiring a psychologist. 'These players are not small children but professionals and they should know what they are supposed to do on the field," Mohsin said. "I belong to the old school of thought and I don't know if having a sports psychologist giving lectures will really help to improve the performance of these players in the (Twenty20) World Cup."

Pakistan finished runner-up to India in the previous World Twenty20, in South Africa in 2007.