The verbals begin January 8, 2007

PCB hits back at Waqar

Cricinfo staff

Apparently not as close as the photo would suggest © Getty Images

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has hit back at claims by Waqar Younis, recently removed as bowling coach, that he was treated unfairly by team management and the board and has accused the former Pakistan fast bowler of behaving in an unprofessional manner.

"Waqar has behaved in an unprofessional manner and has resigned as Pakistan's bowling coach in a burst of anger. The PCB has accepted his resignation," Ehsan Malik, PCB's director communications, told The News.

"Waqar went on unauthorised leave which was against the terms of the contract he had signed with the PCB. That shows his unprofessional approach towards an important job," he added. Waqar had gone to perform Hajj late last month with Mohammad Yousuf and other cricketers. He returned to Lahore on Saturday, handing in his resignation later that evening.

The original cause of the dispute was the appointment of Waqar only for the Test series in South Africa and not the subsequent ODIs. Malik reiterated that the decision had been taken by the team management, after concluding that Waqar's contribution to the ODI side was minimal.

"According to the contract signed by Waqar, the PCB has the right to include him in the team management whenever his services are required. The PCB prepares performance reports of all of their coaching staff and according to one of those assessments, Waqar had contributed very little as far as ODIs were concerned."

A source close to the team also confirmed to Cricinfo that the team management was "not happy with Waqar's performance as they felt his heart wasn't in the coaching role. They also felt that Mushtaq Ahmed (newly reappointed assistant coach) was a harder worker and with a far greater sense of responsibility."

Meanwhile, Waqar criticised Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, for not telling him of the decision personally. Speaking to Dawn, another Karachi-based daily, Waqar said, "Inzamam has kept regular contact with Saeed Anwar (former Test opener) who was with me during Hajj, but he never spoke to me about the decision despite knowing that I was staying with Saeed. Inzamam could have informed me about the decision and taken me into confidence but I believe they (Inzamam and Bob Woolmer) are more comfortable with Mushtaq.

"Since I am supposed to coach the bowlers only, I solely concentrated on that area and did my best to improve their skills. All I can say is that probably Woolmer felt a bit threatened by my presence."

Waqar added, scathingly, that it wasn't the first time the PCB had disgraced ex-players. "In the past too, the PCB sacked Javed Miandad in the middle of his contract while the present chairman axed Mushtaq Ahmed barely hours before the team's departure for the ICC Champions Trophy last November. And now his attitude has been downright insulting, leaving me no choice but to resign."

There has been speculation in local papers that the decision to part company with Waqar was a trade-off between Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, and Inzamam over the decision to appoint Aaqib Javed as chief coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Ashraf appointed Aaqib to the post last week, a decision that allegedly upset Inzamam, apparently because of the former fast-medium bowler's constant criticism of his leadership. In return, it is thought, the chairman acceded to Inzamam's request that Mushtaq be reinstated.