LAHORE, Aug 24: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday appointed former Test fast bowler Mohammad Akram as bowling coach of the national team.
The post had been lying vacant for the last six months after Aaqib Javed quit the job to join UAE cricket.
“The PCB has appointed former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Akram as national team’s bowling coach. He has been hired initially on a one-year contract. Akram will join the national squad in the UAE before the Pakistan-Australia limited-overs series,” PCB’s director game development Intikhab Alam, who is also head of the board’s coach-finding committee, said on Friday.
Former Test batsman Zaheer Abbas and Col (r) Naushad are the other members of the committee.
The 37-year-old Akram, who doesn’t hold impressive record in international cricket, got the job from eight candidates, running for it, and his last rival was Englishman Stuart Barnes.
The right-arm Akram featured in nine Tests and 23 One-day Internationals from 1995 to 2001. The lanky paceman took 17 wickets at an average of 50.52 in the traditional five-day format besides claiming 19 scalps at 41.57 in ODIs.
According to sources, Akram has the support of a former Test cricketer, who is not working officially with the PCB but has used his connections to get him selected.
Otherwise on credentials Barnes would have been the better choice. Barnes holds Level-IV coaching qualification while Akram has Level-III.
Moreover, Barnes has performed duties for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as consultant and Bangladesh ‘A’ team besides serving Gloucestershire. In contrast, Akram possesses no experience with any significant team.
APP adds: Intikhab said PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf had approved Akram’s selection, adding his one-year contract was renewable, based on his performance.
“He is a good choice and we believe he will be able to help the team overcome their weak areas in pace bowling department,” Intikhab remarked.
“Akram will also be working at the National Cricket Academy to impart training to U-16 and U-19 players. He will also assist in talent hunt programmes during national team’s break from international cricket.”