LAHORE: Pakistan’s outgoing coach Waqar Younis left his post and the country with high hopes for the team while wishing to see it at the top of the rankings and asserting that the available squad was fully capable of performing that feat.
National players in Lahore and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials gave Waqar a farewell on Friday night at the National Cricket Academy, hours before the former captain departed for Australia.
Waqar, earlier, announced that the Zimbabwe tour would be his last, citing personal and health reasons for relinquishing his post, which he has held since early last year.
“Its not like I won’t be coming back to Pakistan as this is my own country,” said Waqar before departing from Lahore airport. “I am leaving for personal reasons but once things improve, I will definitely give coming back a thought. In the meantime, it was a good experience with the PCB as well as the players.
“Coaching Pakistan was an experience altogether which went well.”
Waqar decided to step down before his contract ended in December this year and is said to be suffering from a liver ailment for which Sydney doctors have advised him long-term treatment under their direct supervision.
Despite severe criticism levelled by former captain Shahid Afridi, Waqar termed his tenure successful as he facilitated the creation of a team which gels well.
“I am leaving the team as a unit and I hope they remain that way. They are capable of giving Sri Lanka a tough time. And with the spirit in the team that I have seen, I am optimistic of the results that await them.”
On the occasion, former Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam praised Waqar for his services.
“I have worked with him in various capacities and found him a true professional,” said Alam. “Apart from his wonderful cricketing career, he has now done an excellent job with the team as a coach and obviously his resignation is a setback to our plans.”
According to officials, the PCB had strong intentions to extend Waqar’s contract for a further six months after December before receiving the shock announcement from him.
“His performance was outstanding,” said PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt. “I can understand why he wants to leave due to his medical condition and I hope he is able to resolve all his issues but he’s welcome to come back and serve Pakistan cricket any time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2011.