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January 6, 2007
Waqar Younis has resigned from his position as bowling coach of the Pakistan side with immediate effect, as he was unhappy with the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) decision to retain him only for the Test series against South Africa and not the subsequent series of five ODIs.
Waqar returned from performing Hajj in Saudi Arabia to Lahore and told Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, of his decision, just days before the start of the tour. He was appointed to the position in March last year, before Pakistan's tour to Sri Lanka.
Speaking to local TV channels, he criticised the board. "If I am not needed for the ODIs then I don't want to do the job. The board doesn't respect its ex-players properly."
A PCB official confirmed the news, telling Cricinfo, "Waqar spoke to the chairman and told him he wanted to be appointed for the full tour." He added, "He offered to resign if he wasn't retained for the whole series and the chairman accepted." Another official made the ambiguous assertion to TV channels that this was a decision for the team management and the board could not get involved.
Whether or not the reappointment of Mushtaq Ahmed, the former Pakistan legspinner, as assistant coach to Bob Woolmer is a factor is open to question. Last week, Mushtaq was reinstated for the entire tour to South Africa as well as the World Cup shortly after, barely three months after Nasim Ashraf removed him, days before the Champions Trophy.
Waqar also expressed, as recently as September, an interest in a coaching position at New South Wales, Australia. The interest appears mutual, as Dave Gilbert, NSW's chief executive, has already said that he wants Waqar to replace Anthony Stuart, who has left to take charge of Wellington in New Zealand.
Waqar responded at the time, "It would be great to work full-time in NSW. I am very much interested in the job. When I finish my contract with Pakistan I will speak to David [Gilbert]." That scenario would be an attractive one for Waqar, as it would provide him the opportunity to return to Australia, where he is otherwise based with his family.
Speculation will almost certainly filter through over the next few days, but it is worth noting that the first time the PCB officially considered appointing Waqar as bowling coach, there also resulted considerable friction. Nearly two years ago as Pakistan prepared to tour India, Waqar was in negotiations with the board for the job. But it ended in considerable acrimony, Waqar walking away disgruntled at not being offered the long-term role he envisioned, the PCB instead insisting on a series appointment only.
Waqar, 35, is one of Pakistan's most successful bowlers ever, famed for reverse swing and his partnership with Wasim Akram, and one of the prime reasons for Pakistan's success during the nineties. With 789 international wickets, Waqar is second only to Akram as Pakistan's leading all-time wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs. He was a less successful captain, overseeing a shambolic 3-0 series defeat to Australia in 2002-03 and a disastrous 2003 World Cup campaign. He was removed immediately after and announced his retirement in 2004.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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