Pakistan news August 25, 2011

Foreign coach the way forward for Pakistan - Lawson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson has suggested that the Pakistan Cricket Board should replace the outgoing coach Waqar Younis with a foreigner, free from the influence of Pakistan's domestic politics.

"I said it when I left as well, Pakistan need a foreign coach," Lawson, who was sacked as Pakistan coach in 2008, told the Express Tribune from Australia. "Whether you come from Karachi or Lahore, the pressure on you from external sources doesn't let you do the work properly.

"A foreign coach won't have that excess baggage. He won't worry about politics but will just concentrate on making the best team he can. In my time, language wasn't a problem. The common language was cricket and that's all they had to understand."

Lawson, who currently coaches the Kochi franchise in the IPL, stressed that the language barrier wouldn't be a problem for a foreign coach.

"In my Kochi team, some players don't speak Hindi so they communicate in English," Lawson said. "It's just an excuse for not appointing a foreign coach despite all the experience and assistance he can bring to Pakistan cricket."

Waqar recently announced that the upcoming Zimbabwe tour will be his last, citing personal reasons including his and his wife's health. During his tenure Pakistan lurched from one controversy to another, including the spot-fixing scandal and Zulqarnain Haider's mysterious disappearance from the team hotel, but they also managed to show a revival in Test fortunes and belie expectations to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Pakistan have changed coaches frequently in recent years, which Lawson said could be a deterrent for potential replacements. "They will have a very, very difficult time [replacing Waqar]," he said. "Not many will be willing to trust them because of how they've acted in the past but I'll still tell the PCB to get a foreign coach even if it's on a short, six-month contract.

"It's not so much the situation but the chairman's [Ijaz Butt] reputation just isn't good enough for him to invite foreign coaches over to Pakistan."

Lawson was highly critical of Shahid Afridi, who announced a 'conditional' retirement from the game after being axed as one-day captain.

"He's playing well enough and I'd love to see him in the team," Lawson said of Afridi. "However, he needs to realise he's not the most important person in the team. He's a part and that needs to dawn on him. He doesn't accept criticism and thinks he's bigger and better than the team. That won't lead him anywhere."