LAHORE - No foreign coach has applied for the Pakistan cricket team job as its national selection committee on Sunday shortlisted six candidates for the roles of head coach, batting coach and fielding coach.
The PCB's coach committee, comprising former captains Javed Miandad, Intikhab Alam, Wasim Akram and the chief operating officer of the board, Subhan Ahmad, has made recommendations for the positions of head, batting and fielding coaches for the national side. There were no overseas applicants among the 25 that were received for the three posts. The committee has made two recommendations for each position as the board looks to find replacements for Dav Whatmore and fielding coach Julien Fountain in time for the forthcoming Asia Cup in Bangladesh as well as looking for a batting coach to bring stability in the fragile batting line-up of Pakistan team. In November 2013, the PCB had decided not to extend Whatmore's contract as coach.
Addressing the media here on Sunday, Intikhab said that 25 applications were received out of which six names have been shortlisted. Intikhab says he has made two sets of possible candidates for the three posts, which will be forwarded to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf for final approval.
He also said that all of the shortlisted candidates will be called for interview. However, the final decision will be taken by chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Miandad said appointments for head, fielding and batting coach will be made.
Legendary fast bowler Wasim said it's now time to promote local coaches and he's happy no foreigner has applied. "I am happy that no foreigner has applied for the job and it's not surprising at all. We have been favouring foreign coaches in the past but it's time to promote our own coaches who have been working for long. Our recommendations are merely on the basis of merit and according to cricket sense, which eventually will prove beneficial for the country in the longer run." He said that several factors were kept in mind before shortlisting candidates, adding that all appointments will be made on merit. He said all names will be disclosed by today (Monday) evening.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Akram's contract as Pakistan's bowling coach has been extended by two years, beginning February 2014. His previous contract, with a one-year tenure, had ended in August 2013 and Akram has been working on a monthly basis since then, due to uncertainty in the PCB leadership.
According to sources, as soon as Zaka Ashraf was reinstated as chairman of the board by the Islamabad High Court last month the first thing he did was to renew Akram's contract for two-years. Akram was always in the good books of Zaka because he kept the chairman abreast of the happenings in the team. "When Zaka was chairman the first time he always had a good tie with Akram," a source said. The source also said that Akram was now playing an influential role in not only the national team but also in the appointment of the coaches for the national team. "He is clearly in a strong position now and is supporting Moin Khan for the head coach post in the team," the source confirmed.
Though coach committee has refused to reveal the names of the shortlisted candidates, but former coaches Waqar Younis, Mohsin Khan, Moin Khan and Ijaz Ahmed were among those who have applied for the job. Mohsin served as the interim coach for five months in 2011-12 and in this period Pakistan beat England 3-0 in the UAE. He was replaced by Whatmore in March 2012. Waqar was appointed coach of the national team in March 2010. Under his guidance, Pakistan reached the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in West Indies and won the Test and ODI series in New Zealand. Waqar's time as coach was checkered by the spot-fixing controversy and Zulqarnain Haider's move to England after receiving death threats.
Former skipper Moin Khan, who was recently sacked as the manager of the national side, has also emerged as a strong candidate to nail a coaching job in the set-up and has support from bowling coach Akram.
According to PCB sources, Akram has recommended Moin's name to the board to appoint him coach for the upcoming Asia Cup and World T20 Cup in Bangladesh. "Wasim is a strong supporter of Moin but wants the board to only appoint him for a four month period since there is no international commitment of the Pakistan team until next October," the source said.
"The indications are that Akram and Miandad would support the appointment of Moin while Intikhab and Subhan could recommend Waqar's name. The interesting thing is that even the present bowling coach of the national team, Akram is not in favour of appointing Waqar and wants Moin. Akram and Moin share a close rapport and the former is also using his contacts to push for Moin's recommendation as head coach," the source added. The other former cricketers who have applied for the post are Ijaz Ahmed, Basit Ali, Asif Mujtaba, Jalaluddin and Mohtashim Rasheed.
In the past, Pakistan was coached by former players until Richard Pybus took over as the first foreign coach in 1999. Since then, Bob Woolmer, Geoff Lawson, Whatmore and Fountain have served coaching roles.