"Shoaib has the capacity to win matches for Pakistan, provided he is given the atmosphere to do his best. No player can give his best under pressure and I fail to understand why some quarters are trying to put him under pressure," he said.
On the fitness row between PCB and Shoaib, Zia said, "Shoaib is a man of flamboyant nature and one needs a different approach to deal with him. If you press Shoaib on some issue, he will certainly react but if you treat him gently, he will follow you. It's not his fault. It's his nature and you cannot change his nature."
Zia, who quit his post late last year, said his advice for the fast bowler was that he should consider himself as a part of the team.
"He should think that he is part of the team and try to give his hundred percent. I am sure if he is given peace of mind, he will prove destructive on the field," he said.
Referring to the 3-2 loss to India in the recent One-day series at home, Zia said the results could have been different had there been unity in the team. "Had there been unity in the team, I am sure Pakistan would have won 4-1."
"Woolmer is one of the world's leading coaches and Pakistan are fortunate that he has agreed to work with them. I also approached different foreign coaches of international repute but they did not agree to come to Pakistan.I am personally in favour of a foreign coach," he said while dismissing suggestions that hiring foreign coaches was a waste of money.
The former PCB chief said he predicted a tough fight between Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup starting on July 16 in Colombo.
"Although India will enter the fray as favourites after beating Pakistan in the recently-held series, Sri Lanka will be enjoying home ground and crowd advantage. However, Pakistan are defending champions and will participate in the tournament with vengeance," he said.