LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday once again put faith in former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis by appointing national team head coach, the responsibility which he earlier left on the half way on health and personal grounds.
The 42-year-old had been tipped as favourite to take over the role vacated by Australian coach Dav Whatmore, whose contract expired in March. Former wicketkeeper Moin Khan, who filled in as interim coach, guided Pakistan to the Asia Cup final but a poor performance in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh meant his contract was not extended. Waqar, who played 87 Tests and 262 one-day internationals, was one of the world's leading fast bowlers in the 1990s, forming a fearsome bowling partnership with left-arm quick Wasim Akram.
Waqar again expressed his willingness for the post after his previous application was rejected in early February by a PCB coach-hunt committee. The board had also advertised on January 21 for the posts of batting coach and fielding coach.
The coach hunt committee comprising PCB Director Domestic Cricket Operations Intikhab Alam, Director Game Development Haroon Rashid and chief selector Moin Khan met Tuesday to review the applications received for the position of head coach and they unanimously recommended the name of Waqar Younis as head coach for the period of two years.
The PCB will make an announcement for the supporting coaching staff later. This will be Waqar’s second stint as the coach of the national side having served in the position from 2010-2011. During this period, he was also the coach for Pakistan’s 2011 World Cup squad.
Waqar will join the team next month. The national team will tour Sri Lanka for a series of Test matches, One-day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The former fast bowler expressed his joy over being appointed head coach stating that the focus was on the upcoming 2015 World Cup in Australia.
“I am extremely pleased to have been selected as the head coach. My immediate aim would be to prepare the team for the upcoming busy cricket season including the next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” he added.
Waqar had previously quit as Pakistan coach reportedly because of personal reasons, but his differences with former captain Shahid Afridi were a factor during Ijaz Butt's term as PCB chairman. When asked last week if he was okay with working with Afridi, Waqar said: "Pakistan cricket is like my family and differences aren't the end of life, so things get better. I am here to serve cricket and want to return what I have learned from my playing career."
During Waqar's previous stint as Pakistan coach between March 2010 and August 2011, Pakistan endured several off-field controversies - the spot-fixing scandal in England and Zulqarnain Haider fleeing to the UK mid-way through a tour - but their performances were satisfactory. They drew a Test series against South Africa, won one in New Zealand and reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup. After his term came to an end, Waqar applied for the Australia job but did not make it past an interview with Cricket Australia.