Arthur, Whatmore emerge as front-runners for Pakistan coach

Sports Desk KARACHI - High-profile international coaches like Mickey Arthur, Dav Whatmore and Peter Moores have emerged as the front-runners to replace Waqar Younis as Pakistan cricket team coach. Besides, former assistant coach Aaqib Javed, former National Cricket Academy head coach Muddasir Nazar, national team's former coach Haroon Rasheed and even former captain Javed Miandad could also be in the running for the job, if three-member committee, formed by the PCB to find a coach for the national team, decides to go for a local coach, the TOI reported on Friday. . Sources close to the committee said that it was already split on whether a foreign or a local coach should replace Waqar. "But the PCB itself is pretty keen on having a foreign coach with a team of Pakistani assistant and specialist coaches. Arthur (South Africa), Whatmore (Australia) and Moores (England) are being eyed for now," a source said. He also informed that the committee has asked the former Test captain Rameez Raja to contact the shortlisted candidates immediately after the Eid holidays are over. Rameez played a key role in getting the PCB to sign on former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer in 2004 to replace Javed Miandad after a home series loss to India. "Rameez who has been asked to assist the committee that is headed by Intikhab Alam and includes Zaheer Abbas and Colonel Naushad Ali, will soon contact the candidates," the source said. Arthur remained coach of the South Africa team from 2005 to 2010 and is currently coaching the Western Warriors in South African domestic cricket, while Whatmore had a successful stint with Sri Lanka and also coached Bangladesh before signing up to work at the cricket academy in Bangalore. Moores succeeded Duncan Fletcher as England's head coach in April 2007 but was removed in 2009 after disputes with the England cricket authorities. He is currently Lancashire's head coach. The source said that the PCB had given plenty of negotiating powers to the committee, keeping in mind the fact that the foreign teams were not visiting Pakistan since 2009 because of security concerns. Intikhab Alam has already made it clear that Pakistan is looking at an 'internationally experienced' campaigner to take over as the team's 16th coach since 1998. When contacted, Intikhab who himself coached Pakistan from 2008 to 2010, said the task of the committee was not easy as there was a genuine problem of foreign coaches not wanting to spend much time in Pakistan due to security issues. "But the good thing is we have examples where foreign coaches have worked with the Pakistan team in the recent past and the national hockey team also has a foreign coach," Intikhab said. "We're obviously thinking of an internationally experienced coach but we know it's a big task. But we need someone who has coached an international team and has a good reputation and coaching career. That's the way we will shortlist the candidates," he added. Intikhab, however, refused to indulge in any speculations on who would be the suitable candidates for the coach's job. "Let the committee first meet next week and reach a consensus on whether we need a foreign coach or local one and then we can move forward. But the idea is to find a coach who is experienced and capable of working properly and comfortably in our cricket culture," he said. Zaheer Abbas felt a local coach should be well respected by the players but he should have played top level cricket for the country with success and good management and communication skills. "I believe the main job of a coach is to make the players comfortable and play to the best of their abilities. We want a coach who has the ability to cope with the psychology of the players and who has good management skills," said the former Test captain, who has managed the national team in the past and also was a chief selector. Meanwhile, Pakistan's former Test captain Rameez Raja feels that it will not be easy for the cricket board to find a replacement for outgoing coach Waqar Younis, who will leave the national team after the Zimbabwe tour. "He had a commanding presence in the dressing room because of his cricketing background and he had plenty of international experience as well. I thought he gelled the team well together despite the rebuilding process going on in our cricket," Rameez was quoted TOI as saying. The former captain pointed out that Waqar had played a pivotal role in the smooth entry of new players into the national team since last year. "I think the way Waqar handled the situation and the team under him delivered good results despite the many controversies and scandals it faced since last year it is a big credit to him and the management that is why I say our task is not going to be an easy one to find a new coach," he noted. He conceded there was a difference of opinion over whether the team should have a foreign or local coach. "Both have their pros and cons and I say whoever is best for the team and has the respect of the players must come in. We are talking about the future of Pakistan cricket and we also need to look at the tenure of the new coach," he said.

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