LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made three more appointments for its newly-introduced project of the National High Performance Centre, bringing in former Test off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq besides relieving Grant Bradburn as fielding coach to hand him a different set of responsibilities at the centre.
The third appointment is that of Asser Malik as operations manager of the High Performance Centre.
Saqlain was appointed as the head of International Player Development while Bradburn will be the head of the High Performance coaching department which is tasked with producing and training new coaches.
The PCB has already appointed former Test left-arm spinner Nadeem Khan as director of the centre.
Saqlain will join the centre on June 10 while both Bradburn and Asser are required to join on June 1. All the appointments have been made for three years.
Saqlain is currently in Pakistan but Bradburn is in his native country New Zealand and due to coronavirus he may not be able to join the centre from June 1.
A PCB spokesman said national team’s bowling coach Waqar Younis, who is also in Australia and is not able to travel to Pakistan due to the pandemic, and Bradburn are already working online with the other coaching staff. “Once the air travel begins, Bradburn will come to Pakistan to join the centre,” the spokesman said.
It seems the appointments have been made in a haste because no cricket activity is on the cards these days due to coronavirus outbreak.
The PCB has plans to start domestic cricket from Sept 14 if the government allows.
Dawn learnt that all the appointments have been made on high salaries as the incumbent PCB management has introduced this high pay structure which has seen so many officials getting appointed for millions of rupees in salaries.
Both Saqlain and Bradburn will also be paid very handsome salaries which will also be in millions.
As for the vacant position of fielding coach, the PCB spokesman said head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has been informed about the changed role of Bradburn and now it was his prerogative to select new fielding coach.
To a question about Saqlain’s appointment and his utility as coach, the PCB spokesman said: “In fact, Saqlain has been the only off-spinner who bowled the ‘doosra’ with right arm-bend.”
About Asser, the spokesman said that earlier he was working with Multan Sultans, a franchise of the Pakistan Super League, as operational manager. Asser has also been running player management agency. The spokesman, however, said he had de-linked himself from all previous business to act solely with the High Performance Centre.
The spokesman said while chairman PCB cricket committee Iqbal Qasim was included in the panel which selected Nadeem as director High Performance, for these three appointments, former captain Wasim Akram, another member of the cricket committee, was included in the panel.
The PCB has claimed that since Nadeem’s appointment is related with strategy and administrative affairs, his cricketing qualities have no concern with his post as director of the National High Performance Centre.
Meanwhile, the PCB issued a press release on Thursday which said: “The Pakistan Cricket Board today announced the appointments of Grant Bradburn as head of High Performance Coaching and Saqlain Mushtaq as head of International Player Development as part of the prestigious High Performance Centre’s restructuring. The restructuring is aimed at providing a clear pathway to the young and aspiring player support personnel and players within the game.
“In addition to the two former Test cricketers, LUMS graduate Asser Malik, who has a wide-ranging experience with various multi-national companies, has been confirmed as High Performance Operations Manager. The three appointments have been made following a robust recruitment process that included presentations by the candidates, followed by interviews conducted by a high-powered panel that also included members of the PCB Cricket Committee.
“Bradburn is presently the fielding coach of Pakistan men’s national team, a role he took in September 2018 following a successful coaching stint with Scotland men’s national cricket team. An off-spinner who played seven Tests and 11 ODIs from 1990 to 2001 for New Zealand, Bradburn also coached New Zealand ‘A’ and New Zealand U-19 sides.
“Bradburn, a Level III coach, will be responsible for raising the overall standard of player support personnel across all the high performance centres of the country. He holds a strong reputation of creating united and successful environments with a strong focus on bringing new methods on coaching through individual learning and through developing systems that provide consistent feedback, assessment and support that ultimately fosters coaches’ development,” said the press release.
“Saqlain played international cricket between 1995 and 2004 and will be responsible for identifying, developing and preparing players so that they could go on to become world-class cricketers.
“Saqlain, known for introducing the ‘Doosra’, in his first full year (1996) with Pakistan national men’s team at the age of 18 established a record for the most ODI wickets in a calendar year (65). He then did even better the following year, setting a mark (69) that still stands. His impact was so great that he became the fastest bowler in history in terms of time (one year and 225 days) to reach the landmark of 100 ODI wickets, and to this day, no one else has got there in less than two years.
“Saqlain, also a Level III coach, has previously worked as a spin bowling coach with Bangladesh, West Indies and England men’s cricket teams, apart from serving as a consultant for PCB, Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket.”
Meanwhile, Bradburn said he felt good for being associated with Pakistan cricket, where passion for the game was high.
Saqlain said it was an honour and a privilege for him to represent Pakistan. In that background, he was delighted to have been offered the exciting opportunity to work on skilful and exciting young cricketers and help them grow in their careers.
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan welcomed the new officials and expressed the hope they would do their best to make the centre one of the best by meeting all the targets.
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020