Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday was confirmed as Pakistan’s national team head coach in all three formats on a three-year contract with former captain Waqar Younis getting the slot of bowling coach. In line with the Pakistan Cricket Boards commitment to ensure transparency, accountability and role clarity at all levels, Misbah was also named as the chairman of selectors with head coaches of the six first-class Cricket Association sides as his fellow selectors, said a spokesman of the PCB here. “Misbah was a unanimous choice of a five-member panel comprising Intikhab Alam (former captain and the longest serving Pakistan team manager and coach), Bazid Khan (former international cricketer and one of the most respected commentators), Asad Ali Khan (member, Board of Governors), Wasim Khan (Chief Executive, PCB) and Zakir Khan (Director International Cricket, PCB) following a robust recruitment process”, he said.
He said on the recommendation of Misbah, the PCB also named two-time former head coach Waqar Younis as bowling coach of the national side on a three-year contract. “Both the national team appointments were approved by the PCB Chairman Ehsan Manil”, said the spokesman adding “The first assignment of Misbah-Waqar combination will be the upcoming three ODI and three T20I home series against Sri Lanka, which will be played from September 27 to October 9.
The duo’s first series in the World Test Championship will be in Australia when Pakistan will play in Brisbane (21-25 November), followed by a day/night Test in Adelaide (November 29- December 3)”. Misbah and Waqar have previously worked as a pair from May 2014 to April 2016 with the former as captain and the latter as head coach. The 45-year-old Misbah, who retired from international cricket in May 2017, said, “It is very humbling for me to join a select group of some of the very best to have coached the Pakistan national sides in the past. It is an honour and more than that, a massive responsibility as we live and breathe cricket”.
“I know expectations are high, but I am absolutely ready and up for the task otherwise I would not have thrown my name in the hat for one of the most challenging and coveted roles in Pakistan cricket”, said the former most successful test captain adding “We have some of the most talented and exciting cricketers, and I will like to help them train and prepare in such a way that they can play intelligently, smartly and fearlessly.
I am aware this will require a change in the dressing room culture but if we have to compete consistently at the highest level, we have to embrace these modern day requirements”. Misbah said “We need to understand this is a performance-oriented world and only those Pakistan players have thrived in the past who have taken the pride in donning the star and crest on their chests by delivering every time they have stepped on to the field.That’s the way I have played my cricket all through my career and this will not change in my new role”. “I am excited to once again have someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Waqar Younis in my corner as a bowling coach. We have exciting young fast bowlers in our ranks and there is no better person than Waqar to transform them into modern day stars”,he asserted.
“Both Waqar and I had a candid and frank discussion and we discussed and agreed on a number of things, including roles and responsibilities as well as how to take things forward”, he said adding “As I prepare to begin a new phase in my career, I want to thank my family, friends, former team-mates, the PCB and my club, departmental and franchise sides for supporting me in my journey”.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “We are delighted to have someone of Misbah-ul-Haq’s leadership, skill and stature taking on the responsibility of our national team. At the same time, I want to thank all the local and foreign candidates who offered their services, but the panel unanimously put their weight behind Misbah as it believed he was a perfect fit for the dual assignments due to his understanding, knowledge and demands of Pakistan cricket across all the three formats of the game.
“The concept of a head coach also being a chief selector is an innovative one and a new introduction to our system. But, while the PCB has further empowered Misbah, it has also put more responsibility on his shoulders as he will now be solely responsible and accountable for his side’s performances. As always, PCB checks and balances will remain”. Furthermore, it strategically integrates nicely with our revamped domestic structure where the six head coaches of the first-class sides will also be the selectors. They will provide regular feedback and updates to Misbah on the local players that will assist him in his preparations and planning.
Besides, this will also ensure meritocracy in team selections and more onus on the head coaches for their assessments. Exciting times are ahead for the national cricket team, which will feature in the World Test Championship, Asia Cup T20 in 2020 and back-to-back ICC T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021. The PCB has no doubts that under Misbah’s vision and guidance, the team will perform strongly and will succeed in transforming our talented players into world-class performers”.—APP