Pakistan coach Waqar Younis will step down as Pakistan coach after the tour of Zimbabwe due to ‘personal and medical reasons’.
Waqar, Pakistan’s 15th coach since 1995, was appointed after the winless tour of Australia last year where he also served as the team’s bowling consultant. His regime saw Pakistan reach the semi-finals of the 2010 World Twenty20 as well as the 2011 World Cup but also witnessed the spot-fixing saga.
News comes as surprise
Waqar’s decision astonished the cricketing quarters, especially after he confirmed that his stepping down was his personal decision and was not instigated due to the now-public conflict between himself and former captain Shahid Afridi.
“I had filed my resignation a week ago which has eventually been accepted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB),” Waqar told a press conference in Lahore. “But they asked me to continue until the Zimbabwe tour. After that, I won’t be available. Whatever time I have spent, I thoroughly enjoyed it and apart from all those controversies and rollercoaster rides, every thing went according to plan.”
It seems that Intikhab Alam, who was the team manager on the tour of the West Indies, had questioned Waqar’s involvement in team matters in a report handed over to the PCB chairman. However, Waqar categorically denied that those reasons led to his exit, instead confirming that there was no conflict or disagreement with the board or the management.
“I can confirm that my decision to resign is not a result of any sort of conflict with the PCB chairman or with the team management. It is nothing to do with team selection either. Had everything in my personal life – that is, my wife’s health and my own – been all right, I would not have taken this decision. But I do not want to fail to do the job justice because of the personal problems on my mind.”
Decision taken recently
In an emotional press conference, it was obvious that the ‘problems’ he spoke of were causing him great distress, resulting in him keeping busy by even bowling in the nets during the training camp.
“I only told the players on Saturday and they were shocked because until today, the matter was between me and the PCB. But I’m sure that this young team will do well.”
Asked whether he was satisfied with his tenure or not, Waqar paused momentarily, and responded with passion.
“Once you get complacent, it all ends there. There were ups and downs. There were many controversies but at the same time we had a lot of success and I am proud of and pleased with that. Despite all that has happened, the same Pakistan team managed to beat every team in the world.”
The PCB confirmed that Waqar’s resignation has been accepted as it starts its hunt to find his successor for which the first challenge will be a series against Sri Lanka in the UAE starting October.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.