UK-based psy­chol­o­gist of­fers ser­vices for Pak­istan team

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

KARACHI—Taimoor Ali Khan, a Pak­istani sports psy­chol­ogy con­sul­tant based in the United King­dom, has ex­pressed his de­sire to work with the Pak­istan cricket team on its upcoming tour of Eng­land.

A for­mer first-class crick­eter, who played for Is­lam­abad in the 1990s as all­rounder, is a highly-ed­u­cated, hav­ing done MBA and MSc in Elite Per­for­mance Sport Psy­chol­ogy from the School of Sports, Health and Ex­er­cise Sci­ence at the Ban­gor Univer­sity, Gwynedd in Wales and has been based in the UK since 1999.

Taimoor, 39, has the added dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first Pak­istan-born to complete a the­sis on cricket, stressed the need to at­tach a sports psy­chol­o­gist with the Pak­istan squad on what is ex­pected to be a de­mand­ing tour in the com­ing weeks — their first Test trip to Eng­land since the spot-fix­ing con­tro­versy rocked the crick­et­ing world in 2010 when the then Pak­istan skip­per Salman Butt, Mo­ham­mad Asif and Mo­ham­mad Amir were banned by the ICC for their in­volve­ment.

“Coun­tries like Aus­tralia, Eng­land, India and South Africa re­alise the im­por­tance of men­tal train­ing along with phys­i­cal and skill train­ing which is ev­i­dent from their per­for­mance. At the top level play­ers se­lected have the skill set and em­pha­sis is given on their phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing but men­tal train­ing is of im­mense im­por­tance at that level,” Taimoor em­pha­sised.

“In or­der to be suc­cess­ful and achieve great­ness you are not only re­quired to have the skill set or phys­i­cal tough­ness but men­tal train­ing is also of ut­most im­por­tance.

“The way crick­eters or other ath­letes prac­tise their skills in their re­spec­tive sport in the same man­ner they need to prac­tise psy­cho­log­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions to achieve men­tal tough­ness to have longevity in their ca­reer.” Analysing the im­por­tance of sports psy­chol­ogy, Taimoor of­fered to help Pak­istan put up their best pos­si­ble per­for­mance by work­ing in li­ai­son with the play­ers, ma­jor­ity of whom have not played Tests in Eng­land.

“As a sport psy­chol­ogy con­sul­tant, my men­tal work­out train­ing em­pha­sis on the iden­tity state­ment, per­for­mance state­ment, vi­su­al­i­sa­tion, im­agery, ef­fec­tive goal-set­ting, per­sonal re­ward pro­gramme, so­lu­tion-fo­cused tools and men­tal tough­ness,” he re­marked.

“In my the­sis on cricket I de­vel­oped a vi­sion, sup­port and chal­lenge mea­sure and trans­for­ma­tional lead­er­ship be­hav­iors, pre­dict­ing vi­sion, sup­port and chal­lenge within team sport.

“I be­lieve that inse­cu­rity and un­cer­tainty cre­ates fear among Pak­istan team crick­eters which has a neg­a­tive ef­fect on their per­for­mance out­come.

“To en­hance the per­for­mance and pro­duce great re­sults there is a need to build a strong team cul­ture based on tar­geted be­hav­iours such as in­spi­ra­tional mo­ti­va­tion, in­tel­lec­tual stim­u­la­tion, in­di­vid­ual con­sid­er­a­tion, fos­ter­ing ac­cep­tance of group goals, ap­pro­pri­ate role mod­el­ing, per­for­mance ex­pec­ta­tions and con­tin­gent re­ward for pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment.

“On such a de­mand­ing and long tour of Eng­land con­tin­u­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal sup­port is of ut­most im­por­tance for the Pak­istan cricket team,” Taimoor said.

“As we are all aware that af­ter the spot-fix­ing scan­dal on the pre­vi­ous trip [in 2010] this is go­ing to be the first Test se­ries be­tween the two coun­tries in Eng­land. There­fore, there will be im­mense pres­sure on play­ers.

“The Pak­istani play­ers un­doubt­edly will be un­der a lot of scru­tiny from the Bri­tish me­dia. The im­por­tance of a sport psy­chol­ogy con­sul­tant is of great im­por­tance for this tour,” Taimoor added.

Taimoor also nar­rated an in­ter­est­ing story of how the Pak­istan Cricket Board (PCB) ap­proached him last year in a bid to hire his ser­vices. In fact, he flew down to La­hore from Eng­land and per­son­ally held a de­tailed meet­ing with PCB ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee chief Na­jam Sethi.

“Yes, I can con­firm that about a year back I was ap­proached by the PCB to work with the Pak­istan na­tional team as a sport psy­chol­ogy con­sul­tant but un­for­tu­nately it [the deal] didn’t ma­te­ri­alised due to un­known rea­sons.”—Agen­cies

LE­ICES­TER: Pak­istan women team par­tic­i­pat­ing in a prac­tice ses­sion at Fis­cher Coun­try Ground, Eng­land on Sun­day.

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