IPL news December 29, 2010

Geoff Lawson to be Kochi coach

Geoff Lawson, the former Australia fast bowler, will be be appointed head coach of the Kochi IPL team, ESPNcricinfo has learnt. Lawson confirmed he would be in India soon to sign his contract, which is likely to be for two years, marking the team's first high-level cricketing appointment.

"I will be flying to India in the next few days to prepare for the player auction," Lawson told ESPNcricinfo. Mehul Shah, one of the owners of the Kochi franchise, confirmed the development.

Lawson had stated in October that a section of the Kochi owners had expressed strong interest in him for the coaching position. Unfortunately that deal could not be finalised as Kochi was suffering from a fractured ownership and appeared on the brink of being shunted out of the IPL. However, extensive parleys among the owners and various lifelines handed out by the BCCI led to a compromise formula being worked out to keep the $333.33 million franchise afloat.

Lawson said he was excited to be finally getting another opportunity of "creating a team" once again. "All is in order with the Kochi owners and everyone is keen and excited to be finally getting on with the job of creating a team. I will physically sign the contract when I get there [India], but in essence the owners have honoured the handshake deal we had before the minority owner problem occurred," he said.

Lawson's most high-profile coaching job was his 15-month stint in charge of the Pakistan team from July 2007. He helped them reach the final of the inaugural World Twenty20, but his partnership with inexperienced captain Shoaib Malik did not get to blossom as 2008 was a virtually barren year for Pakistan - Australia pulled out of a full tour, the Champions Trophy was postponed and Pakistan were left to play minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo