LAHORE: After being on the verge of parting ways with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Saqlain Mushtaq has emerged as the strongest candidate to be appointed as the national team head coach after completing an interim role.
Well-placed sources told Dawn that the PCB Director International Cricket Zakir Khan met the former off-spinner on Thursday after local media reported a fall-out between him and the board.
According to the reports, Saqlain, after stepping down from his permanent role as the Head of International Player Development at the National High Performance Centre, was not happy with the financial package PCB offered to him for the head coach position.
Sources said the former Test cricketer was offered a salary less than that of former head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, despite leading Pakistan to the semi-finals at the ICC T20 World Cup last year and winning series against Bangladesh and West Indies.
Under Saqlain, Pakistan were able to break a 29-year World Cup jinx against archrivals India when they beat them by 10 wickets at the T20 showpiece event.
While the 45-year-old first assignment was the World Cup, he was appointed as interim coach ahead of Pakistan’s home series against New Zealand and England. Both series couldn’t be held due New Zealand’s abrupt withdrawal on the eve of the first One-day International citing security concerns and England’s opting out of the tour due to apparent ‘mental health issues’ for their players.
Saqlain took charge after former head coach Misbah and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down from their posts days after Ramiz Raja assumed charged as the PCB chairman.
The PCB has remained tight-lipped regarding certain future. However, according to sources, he will be Pakistan head coach as the team looks to host the likes of Australia, New Zealand and England this year.
Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022