LAHORE: Former captain Misbah ul Haq has been appointed as the new head coach of the Pakistan cricket team in all three formats on a three-year contract, while Waqar Younis will be the team’s bowling coach.
According to a press release by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Misbah has been appointed for a three-year term and will also serve as Pakistan’s chief selector, leading Pakistan cricket with the dual prime roles.
Misbah was a unanimous choice of a five-member panel that comprised former captain and manager Intikhab Alam, former cricketer and commentator Bazid Khan, Board of Governor member Asad Ali Khan, PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan and Director International Cricketer Zakir Khan following a tough recruitment process.
Addressing a press conference soon after his appointment, Misbah said: “As a coach, or a leader, what one wants is to have such a great team that they instantly dominate the match and put pressure on the opposition. But that is the ideal situation. In real life one has to strategies based on the kind of players available, I will be doing the same.”
“Of course, the ultimate goal is to have a very strong team at the end but we have to begin with what we have. The revamping of the cricket structure will take some time,” he said.
Ending speculations regarding his role in Pakistan Super League, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan — who was also present at the press conference — said, “An executive decision has been made to let Misbah coach during Pakistan Super League (PSL) as our team will be playing only 42 days of international cricket in the next one year. Misbah needs all the coaching experience he can get and the PSL is a good place to start.”
Dodging a question about Misbah’s salary, the two PCB executives said that Misbah was being paid an amount that is justified for the role that he has taken on. When asked if the salary is up to par with that of Micky Arthur, Khan said: “Yes, Misbah is taking on the same responsibilities as Arthur and thus he is being paid the same amount of money.”
During the press conference, it was repeatedly said that Misbah will have full autonomy that comes with the positions that he is holding. It was further made clear that the previous selection board has been dismantled and under the new system, Misbah will head the selection committee which will comprise six other members — the head coaches of regional cricket associations.
“This is being done so that I know exactly what is happening on the domestic level and which new players should be chosen for upcoming games. This will create a strong connection between the domestic and international cricket — which has been missing for the past many years.”
“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.”
The former batsman added, “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.”
“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,” he continued.
“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,” Misbah said. “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,” Misbah said about appointment of Younis.
He added, “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 further added, “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.”
On the recommendation of Misbah, the cricket board also named two-time former head coach and ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Waqar Younis as bowling coach of the national side on a three-year contract.
PCB chairman Ehsan Mani approved both the appointments.
The first assignment for the 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 (November 21-25 ), followed by a day/night Test in Adelaide (November 29 – December 3).
From May 2014 to April 2016, Misbah and Waqar have worked together with the former as captain and the latter as head coach.
Earlier this month, Misbah resigned from his post in the cricket committee and submitted his application for the post of head coach.
Misbah, Pakistan’s most successful captain, led the team in 53 Tests out of which they won 24, lost 18 and drew 11.
On the other hand, Younis was the most high-profile applicant for the post of Pakistan team’s bowling coach. The 47-year-old has previously been the team’s head coach twice in the past — the last time being from May 2014 to April 2016.
Dubbed ‘Burewala Express’ by his fans, the pace-bowling legend claimed 373 wickets from 87 Tests and 416 scalps from 262 ODIS while representing Pakistan.