LAHORE: Former South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander, who is Pakistan team’s bowling consultant, left for his native country on Monday night from Bangladesh a couple of days before his scheduled departure, in the backdrop of the sudden new virus variant Omicron detected in his country, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Monday.
The 36-year-old Philander, who joined the Pakistan team for the ICC T20 World Cup was scheduled to leave for South Africa after the ongoing first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. But due to latest virus-related developments back in his country, flights from and to South Africa are being suspended. Therefore, the former paceman is making an early return.
As the PCB did not appoint coaches on regular basis after the resignations of Misbah-ul-Haq (head coach) and Waqar Younis (coach) last September, Philander and batting coach former Australia opener Matthew Hayden were hired in an interim arrangement. Left-handed Hayden left the Pakistan squad soon after the T20 World Cup ended in the UAE on Nov 14.
After the resignations of Misbah and Waqar, the PCB has not yet started the process to hire permanent coaches. Therefore, current interim head coach Saqlain Mushtaq is most likely to continue to perform his duty for next month’s white-ball home series against the West Indies comprising three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.
It is learnt that after the West Indies series, the PCB will have three months before it hosts Australia in March 2022 and during this period new appointments on these posts will be made. Some coaches working at the National High Performance Centre will assist Saqlain during the series against the West Indies.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021