Pakistan cricket June 16, 2004

Woolmer to replace Miandad as Pakistan coach

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Bob Woolmer: under contract with Pakistan until the 2007 World Cup © Getty Images

Pakistan have replaced Javed Miandad as coach of the national team with Bob Woolmer, the former England batsman and South Africa coach.

Miandad, who was in his third stint as Pakistan's coach, was under contract to hold the position until April 2005, but he and the board decided to go their separate ways in the wake of the recent Test and one-day series against India, both of which Pakistan lost.

Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan board (PCB), said today: "Woolmer has agreed to be our national team coach which is a matter of great satisfaction for us. Miandad wanted to be released from the job and we felt we should honour his request."

Miandad, 47, reportedly became increasingly unimpressed at the level of criticism which came flying his way after the defeat to India, and he even threatened to stand down back in April because of it. "I am sure that this team has the potential to bounce back, and I can guide this team to improve," he said then, "but I will quit if there are major shake-ups in the team management."

The main areas of criticism were for his alleged unprofessional approach as the coach, and the indiscipline of his bowlers and fielders. There were even inquiries into some players faking injuries during that series as well. Miandad's previous two spells as coach also ended in controversy: the first time around, he quit after disagreements with his senior players, 15 days before the 1999 World Cup; the second time, he was sacked. "His contract has been terminated," Khan confirmed today, adding: "We offered him to serve as national cricket advisor but he has declined."

Woolmer, his replacement, played 19 Tests for England between 1975 and 1981, and coached the South Africans for four years. He had been working as the ICC's high-performance manager, but has now been signed up to coach Pakistan until the 2007 World Cup.

A statement released today by the PCB said that Woolmer had been picked due to his "advanced technological methods", and Khan himself added: "It was not easy to get a coach of Woolmer's status, who is a pioneer and highly respected," he said, "but through negotiations we have convinced him to take the job before the Asia Cup until the 2007 World Cup in West Indies."