Misbah, Waqar front runners for posts of head coach, bowling coach

Published August 30, 2019
In this 2014 file photo, then-Pakistan coach Waqar Younis (C) talks with then-captain Misbah-ul-Haq (R) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. — AFP
In this 2014 file photo, then-Pakistan coach Waqar Younis (C) talks with then-captain Misbah-ul-Haq (R) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. — AFP

LAHORE: After the interviews of candidates for the post of head coach of Pakistan team have been completed, the interviews for the post of bowling coach are likely to be conducted by a five-member panel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) here on Friday.

On Thursday, ex-captain Misbah-ul-Haq, former Test opener Mohsin Hasan Khan and ex-Australian batsman Dean Jones (through video-link) were interviewed for the post of head coach.

Former Pakistan captain and head coach Waqar Younus also appeared for the post of bowling coach and, after another candidate Mohammad Akram withdrew his name in Waqar’s favour, the legendary fast bowler’s chances of getting selected for the coveted post are looking bright. However, former West Indian Test and ODI bowler Courtney Walsh’s interview is also on the cards and he is likely appear for an interview through video-link soon which could well prove to be competition for Waqar.

It is learnt that Misbah is front-runner for the head coach after the interview as both Mohsin and Dean Jones may not get the post for different reasons. The age factor in Mohsin’s case (he is 65-year-old) and being a foreigner in Jones’ case could go against them when pitted against Misbah. The experiment of foreign coaches has not been too fruitful for Pakistan in the past and Jones could miss the bus on that ground.

And though Mohsin as interim coach back in 2012 proved successful as Pakistan whitewashed the then world No.1 team England in the UAE in the three-Test series, Misbah as captain of that team also led from the front while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal did wonders with his bowling to stun the world leaders. Misbah surely is a heavyweight because of his strong credentials compared to Mohsin and Jones. He has been the most successful skipper of Pakistan, has the ability to spot talent and to inculcate a fighting spirit among the players.

The veteran right-handed batsman is also well versed with to domestic cricket since he has been playing in the circuit till last year despite announcing his retirement from all international cricket back in 2017. Under his captaincy Pakistan earned top spot in the Test cricket in 2016-17.

Also, unlike the foreign coaches who prefer to spend more time out of the country during off duty days for security and family reasons, Misbah will be available to the PCB throughout the year, which Jones can’t do, due to a foreigner, who don’t prefers to have a longer period stay in the country due to security fears, as Mickey Arthur, the previous head coach of Pakistan had also been doing.

In bowling department, Waqar Younus is also front-runner, though Courtney is a strong candidate, too. But as a bowler, Courtney will surely match the Waqar’s credentials as in coaching experience, the Pakistani is far away from him as he had performed on this post twice in the past. The PCB will also be wary of the fact that dealing with Waqar has not been easy during the past as he was quit the post as head coach twice (in 2011 and 2016) and as bowling coach in 2007 in controversial circumstances.

Moreover, Waqar’s relationship with the current captain Sarfraz Ahmad was also not an ideal one.

The interview panel for the bowling coach is likely to comprise Wasim Khan (PCB Chief Executive), Zakir Khan (Director International Cricket), Asad Ali Khan (a member of the Board of Governor) and two independent members — Intikhab Alam and Bazid Khan.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2019

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