Pakistan's coach controversy October 30, 2008

I'm sorry to be leaving - Lawson

Cricinfo staff

Geoff Lawson: "I just needed to get a few more pieces of the puzzle together and I won't get a chance to do that" © AFP

Geoff Lawson, who was sacked as the Pakistan coach last week, has said he was better off than other officials working with the Pakistan board since he was paid out and got a decent exit.

"There are so many other staff who have been sacked or are leaving and I don't think they got paid an awful lot," Lawson was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. Lawson worked out a financial agreement with the PCB after sending back a cheque the board had given him, claiming the payment was far short of what was owed to him as per the terms of his contract.

Under Lawson's charge, Pakistan reached the World Twenty20 final but then lost vital series against South Africa at home and India away. Pakistan's frontline fast bowlers, expected to prosper under a former fast bowler, were plagued by injuries, and the losses only added to the pressure on the new coach-captain pair of Lawson and Malik. "I am sorry to be leaving these guys," Lawson said. "I went into this thing full of hope and enthusiasm. I just needed to get a few more pieces of the puzzle together and I won't get a chance to do that."

Lawson said his sacking had nothing to do with the coaching. "When the government changed everyone knew the [cricket board] chairman would change and when that happens, a lot of things change. So it was always a possibility rather than a probability. That is just how things work over here. I am very philosophical about it. There is no other way to be."

In 2008, Lawson's first full year in charge, Pakistan have played four ODI series, one Twenty20 tournament and no Tests. Their home series against Australia and the Champions Trophy were postponed because of security fears in the country. But Lawson maintained, as he had through his tenure, that Pakistan was a safe place to play. "It [the terror threat] feels so peripheral when you're here. What is disappointing is we didn't get a chance to prove how good we can be. I have seen what talent there is in this team, and it's enormous. There are 25 players who could eventually be really good players if they are handled properly."

Lawson said as the Pakistan coach he got a chance to experience a different sort of life. "It has been a tremendous experience. It was never going to be just about the cricket but about life, living in a Muslim culture, and that is something very few people get to experience."