Pakistan board to replace Miandad?
The repercussions of Pakistan's loss to India may have started, if reports in a local newspaper are to be believed. The News reported on Thursday that the Pakistan Cricket Board wants Dav Whatmore to replace Javed Miandad as coach of the senior team.
The report quoted sources within the PCB as saying, "Basically the situation with Miandad is that there is a feeling he has been given enough time to prove that the team has developed and improved under him. Secondly ... he is not willing to accept responsibility for any shortcomings against India and is opposed to the introduction of modern technology in the team."
However, Whatmore has denied the possibility of a move at present. "Right now, my mind and energy belong to Bangladesh cricket and I want to give all my effort to the team," Whatmore told a news agency. "I will not name any country that I would like to coach. My agreement with the Bangladesh Cricket Board will end on May 31, 2005 and I will think about my future right after that."
The views of the PCB came out in a meeting Miandad had with the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and Haroon Rashid, the manager, on Tuesday in Karachi. The source added, "Whatmore is regarded with great respect in Pakistan cricket circles and the talk is that he should be approached to end his contract with Bangladesh. Everything depends on whether he makes himself available or not."
Miandad and the PCB have been under pressure for some time now to instill some professionalism into the coaching set-up. The series loss against India, believe leading officials, ex-players and skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, highlighted the need to embrace modernity and, if necessary, technology in coaching methods.
It is believed that Shaharyar is keen to integrate a fulltime fitness trainer and a bowling coach into the team set-up. Wasim Akram has expressed his willingness to serve as a bowling coach, as has his old sparring partner Waqar Younis. Dennis Waight and Daryl Foster have also attracted the interest of the PCB - Waight, who came to prominence as West Indies' fitness coach, worked with the Pakistan team during the 2003 World Cup.
When asked about the possible changes by Wisden Cricinfo, a PCB spokesman said, "It is not our policy to comment on rumours and speculation." Miandad also refused to comment on the news when contacted. "You will have to speak to the Board to ask them for a comment, I don't want to say anything right now."
Meanwhile, the same report also predicts a bleak future for Shoaib Akhtar. The article reveals there is pressure from government circles to deal with the Rawalpindi Express severely, regardless of the results of a medical-commission investigation into his injury. Akhtar has asked for the commission to delay the inquiry which was due to be held on Sunday, as he has extended his stay in Mumbai.
Whether or not the medical commission serves any tangible purpose or can produce evidence of injuries, the report suggests that Shoaib is likely to be banned for a number of matches. "There is pressure from people in government to take action against him ... he has been given a free rein for too long and it was the final straw when he let the team down in the series against India."