Pakistan cricket February 19, 2010

Waqar open to permanent coaching role

Waqar Younis, the former Pakistan fast bowler and bowling coach, would be open to the prospect of taking on a broader coaching role with the Pakistan side if he were approached. Waqar was bowling and fielding coach with Pakistan during the disastrous trip to Australia, but was appointed for that series only. His immediate future options are open for now, but he has said he would love to coach the senior side on a longer-term basis.

Though the Pakistan board has not said so openly, it is acknowledged that they are looking for a new coach to replace Intikhab Alam. Nothing will be officially announced until the inquiry committee set up to look into the Australian tour reaches a conclusion and that has been delayed till after Pakistan returns from a short trip to Dubai, where they play England in two Twenty20s.

The PCB has already contacted -and been turned down by - Greg Chappell and senior officials have said they are willing to look abroad as well as locally. The Pakistan post is not a particularly attractive one for a foreigner: an unstable administration and security concerns decree as much, so a local option may well have to be the way forward. Ijaz Ahmed is with the senior side in Dubai as a batting and fielding trainer and his name has also come up, after taking the Under-19 team to a World Cup final.

"If offered I would love to take on the role of coach," Waqar told Cricinfo. "Pakistan cricket remains my absolute passion and number one priority. I don't want to do it on an appointment or short-term basis though. I'd like to have time to work with the boys, to really be able to plan ahead."

Waqar's first stint as bowling coach was between March 2006 and January 2007 and though it didn't end well, his role and contribution was widely acknowledged, especially by bowlers such as Umar Gul and Naved-ul-Hasan. "I enjoyed that stint when I was with [Bob] Woolmer, though I worked with limited resources then and in a limited role," he said. "It would make more sense to have a broader role and greater authority if I do work with the side again."

Even as the inevitable finger-pointing and blame game swiftly followed the whitewash in Australia Waqar has remained silent, instead quietly handing in his own report of the tour to the inquiry committee. Surprisingly, he wasn't asked to appear before it, though Intikhab, Aaqib Javed [assistant coach] and Abdur Raquib [team manager] have all been summoned by the committee.

"I said what I wanted to say in the report and gave it in" Waqar said. "I just want to help make things better and not point fingers at anyone in particular. We lost the series and my report says why I think we lost. I have given some suggestions as well.

"Pakistan plays best when they do with passion, like we used to when we were playing, that aggression and that Pakistani-ness. There was a lot of stuff happening off the field as well in those days, but when it came to matters on the field, we always had that hunger to just go out and play as well as we could for Pakistan."

It is believed Waqar met Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, during a short trip to Pakistan though it is unclear whether possible roles have been discussed. Butt refused to confirm whether a meeting had taken place, saying only that he "meet[s] any number of ex-Test players to take their inputs. I don't want to comment on something that will only be decided once the committee's work is concluded."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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