The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) coach-hunt committee has shown no interest in Shoaib Akhtar’s offer to take on the vacant bowling coach’s role with the national squad.
Akhtar, while talking to reporters in Lahore on Thursday, said that he will jump at the opportunity if the PCB approached him. However, a member of the committee said that the former pacer was not eligible due to lack of qualifications as a ‘professional coach’.
Pakistan is without a bowling coach since former fast-bowler Aqib Javed resigned from the post to take up UAE’s head coach position after the series against England earlier this year. While the three-member committee that comprises Intikhab Alam, Zaheer Abbas and Colonel Naushad Ali, hired Dav Whatmore and Julien Fountain as head coach and fielding coach respectively, it has failed to finalise a candidate despite months of deliberation. Recently, PCB chief Zaka Ashraf confirmed that none of the applicants were suitable enough for the role.
“Akhtar doesn’t fulfil the criteria set out for the job,” a committee member told The Express Tribune. “We need a professional coach for which we demanded at least five years coaching experience. Secondly, the candidate must be a level-3 coach. These are the two main pre-requisites which were a must to apply for the job and Akhtar does not have either of them. No doubt he was a great pacer in his days but a good cricketing history cannot guarantee good coaching career.”
The member, however, confirmed that Akhtar’s chequered history – his run-ins with the PCB as well as doping and disciplinary offences - were not the reasons behind the snub. The official added that the committee was weighing pros and cons over ‘various’ options that it has and will send the name for the PCB chairman’s approval in due time.
According to reports, former Essex paceman Ian Pont is said be the leading contender to replace Javed.
I am ready to become bowling coach: Akhtar
Earlier, Akhtar, who retired during the 2011 World Cup, expressed readiness to work with the PCB.
“I am ready to be the bowling coach,” said Akhtar who took 178 Tests and 247 One-Day International wickets (ODI) during his career. “If the PCB contacts me then I will offer my services. It’s an honour to serve the country and it can be done by helping the upcoming bowlers.”
Akhtar added that the PCB must utilise the former greats to hunt talent.
“We have good fast-bowlers but not as good like we had in the past. We need talent hunt for which former greats like Imran Khan are needed. I prefer if the PCB calls Imran at least for one day. That will make a difference. He has that eye to spot the talent and it would be ideal if he could take out some time.”
Meanwhile, while speaking on the upcoming series against Australia, Akhtar said the team will miss Umar Gul who was dropped for the ODI series. Pakistan will be without Gul and Mohammad Sami for the tour.
“Pakistan is already lacking true strike bowlers and Gul obviously will be missed this time. If pitches in UAE are flat, then I am afraid things won’t be good for the young fast-bowlers and the spinners, as usual, will have to take the extra load.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.
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