The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday appointed former skipper Misbahul Haq to the joint position of head coach and chief selector for the men's team — a first in Pakistan cricket — while Waqar Younis was named the bowling coach.
The batting coach position remains vacant.
Misbah got the unanimous nod from a five-member panel, which interviewed several candidates and submitted their recommendations to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, a PCB press release said.
Addressing a press conference soon after his appointment, Misbah said: "As a coach, or a leader, what one wants is to have such a great team that they instantly dominate the match and put pressure on the opposition. But that is the ideal situation. In real life one has to strategies based on the kind of players available, I will be doing the same."
"Of course, the ultimate goal is to have a very strong team at the end but we have to begin with what we have. The revamping of the cricket structure will take some time."
Ending speculations regarding his role in Pakistan Super League, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan — who was also present at the press conference — said, "An executive decision has been made to let Misbah coach during PSL as our team will be playing only 42 days of international cricket in the next one year. Misbah needs all the coaching experience he can get and the PSL is a good place to start."
Evading a question about Misbah's salary, the two PCB executives said that Misbah was being paid an amount that is justified for the role that he has taken on. When asked if the salary is up to par with that of Micky Arthur, Khan said: "Yes, Misbah is taking on the same responsibilities as Arthur and thus he is being paid the same amount of money."
During the press conference, it was repeatedly said that Misbah will have full autonomy that comes with the positions that he is holding. It was further made clear that the previous selection board has been dismantled and under the new system, Misbah will chair the selection committee which will comprise six other members — the head coaches of regional cricket associations.
"This is being done so that I know exactly what is happening on the domestic level and which new players should be chosen for upcoming games. This will create a strong connection between the domestic and international cricket — which has been missing for the past many years."
“It is very humbling for me to join a select group of some of the very best to have coached the Pakistan national sides in the past. It is an honour and more than that, a massive responsibility as we live and breathe cricket," the newly appointed head coach and chief selector was earlier quoted as saying in the press release. Earlier, the two posts were held by Mickey Arthur and Inzamamul Haq, respectively.
“I know expectations are high, but I am absolutely ready and up for the task otherwise I would not have thrown my name in the hat for one of the most challenging and coveted roles in Pakistan cricket.
“We have some of the most talented and exciting cricketers, and I will like to help them train and prepare in such a way that they can play intelligently, smartly and fearlessly. I am aware this will require a change in the dressing room culture but if we have to compete consistently at the highest level, we have to embrace these modern day requirements," Misbah said.
Misbah was a front-runner for the head coach job even though he applied for it on the last day of submission on Aug 26 after resigning as a member of the national cricket committee. He was also recently appointed by the PCB as the camp commandant of the ongoing pre-season training camp in which most of the contracted players are taking part.
He was a surprise appointment as Pakistan captain back in 2011 and he led the team with distinction, going on to become one of the country’s greatest skippers. It remains to be seen whether he can work the same magic as the head coach.
The Misbah-Waqar duo
Misbah and Waqar have worked together in the past when the former was the Pakistan captain and the latter was the head coach.
Waqar’s readiness to work under Misbah comes as a surprise considering he has been Pakistan head coach on two occasions in the past.
Discussing the matter of having Waqar by his side as the bowling coach, Misbah said: “I am excited to once again have someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Waqar Younis in my corner as a bowling coach. We have exciting young fast bowlers in our ranks and there is no better person than Waqar to transform them into modern day stars.
“Both Waqar and I had a candid and frank discussion and we discussed and agreed on a number of things, including roles and responsibilities as well as how to take things forward."
The Misbah-Waqar duo's first test will be the upcoming One-day International and Twenty20 home series against Sri Lanka, which will be played from 27 September to 9 October.
The two will also be mentoring Pakistan for the first series in the World Test Championship that is to be held in Australia when Pakistan will play in Brisbane from November 21 to 25, followed by a day/night Test in Adelaide from November 29 to December 3.
PCB's 'innovative' choice to give chief selector and head coach position to Misbah
Sharing his thoughts on the appointments, Khan said that the board was delighted to have someone of Misbah's stature mentoring the national side.
“The concept of a head coach also being a chief selector is an innovative one and a new introduction to our system. But, while the PCB has further empowered Misbah, it has also put more responsibility on his shoulders as he will now be solely responsible and accountable for his side’s performances — however, as always, PCB checks and balances will remain," Khan said while discussing PCB's decision to let Misbah hold both positions.
"I want to thank all the local and foreign candidates who offered their services, but the panel unanimously put their weight behind Misbah as it believed he was a perfect fit for the dual assignments due to his understanding, knowledge and demands of Pakistan cricket across all the three formats of the game," Khan concluded.