KARACHI - Pakistani fast-bowling legend Waqar Younis insisted Wednesday he had no hard feelings about being overlooked as national coach and threw his weight behind Moin Khan. The 42-year-old was shortlisted alongside Khan to replace Australian Dav Whatmore, whose contract ended last month, but the ex-wicketkeeper was given the nod by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday.
That dashed Younis's hopes for a second stint as coach after a succesful tenure from March 2010 to September 2011. But Younis, feared in his playing days for his vicious inswinging yorkers that sent stumps cartwheeling, said he had no complaints. "These are difficult times for Pakistan cricket and instead of crying over anything we should support the new coach and try our best to lift Pakistan cricket," he told AFP.
"I accept the decision with openness and hope that we all move forward for the betterment of Pakistan cricket which has seen huge turmoil in the last few years, not seen before in its history," said Younis, who played 87 Tests and 262 one-day internationals. He said the game in cricket-mad Pakistan could ill afford turmoil of the kind that has rocked the PCB in the last 12 months. The board has been embroiled in legal wrangling since May last year, when the Islamabad high court suspended then-chairman Zaka Ashraf over doubts about the election that chose him.
Ashraf was reinstated by an appeals bench in January. Veteran journalist Najam Sethi served as caretaker chairman in the interim period. On Monday Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, patron of the PCB, removed Ashraf again and reappointed Sethi. Younis said it was time for the saga to end. "All these matters hurt Pakistan cricket badly and this is the only game which is saved for the fans so it is imperative that we must solve the problems quickly," he said.
Younis also said Khan, who has been initially appointed for this month's Asia Cup and next month's World Twenty20, should have been given a longer contract. "I think it is unjust to give him just two tours," said Younis. "I don't think even Khan would like this short tenure because for stability a coach needs longer time."
A PCB committee said it would review Khan's performance as Pakistan have a long period without matches after April, and the coach's tenure could be extended.