The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed a three-member committee to hire a new coach for the national team following the resignation of Waqar Younis, with former captain Rameez Raja assisting the panel.
Waqar submitted his resignation to the PCB prior to the team's departure for Zimbabwe, citing health reasons for quitting the post and said he will step down after the team's tour to the African country.
Following the development, the PCB appointed the committee that will be headed by former team manager and coach, Intikhab Alam and includes former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former wicket-keeper batsman Naushad Ali as its members.
Raja has consented to assist the committee in selecting the coach. The former batsman felt that pinpointing the ideal candidate to coach the national team was going to be a tough task, as cricketing quarters in Pakistan were divided over the question on whether the post should go to a foreigner or a local coach.
"When it's about the future of Pakistan cricket and some important decisions are to be taken, I will always be there to make positive contributions," said Raja. "It will be tough to identify the best coaches because right now opinion is divided on either bringing in a Pakistani coach or a foreigner. Both options have their pros and cons."
On Waqar's contribution as coach, Raja was all praise for the former fast-bowler's stint.
"The experiment with Waqar was quite successful. It would be ideal if anyone in the country, with similar ability and stature could replace him. We need a person who has a commanding presence in the dressing room.
"If someone like Waqar isn't available in Pakistan, then someone from outside the country can come but it will be important for the person to understand our tradition, our cricket and our board."
The committee will start working after the Eid holidays. In its statement, the PCB makes it clear that the committee would 'look for coaches both from within and outside Pakistan'.
'PTT had a clear and positive role'
Raja, who was the key member for the ICC's Pakistan Task Team (PTT), was heavily criticised for his role in forming the team's recommendations. Responding to the criticism that the PTT faced, Raja said that the main purpose of the team was to help Pakistan cricket.
"It was a good effort as the purpose was simple," said Raja. "The main purpose given to the PTT was to help Pakistan cricket. The recommendations were made only to help Pakistan with the best of intentions."
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.