Pakistan news August 17, 2012

Shoaib keen on Pakistan bowling coach role

Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has said that he is "ready" to take up the bowling coach role, even on a part-time basis, if approached by the Pakistan Cricket Board. The PCB has been searching for a bowling coach since the appointment of Dav Whatmore as the head coach and Julien Fountain as the fielding coach.

"I am ready to be the bowling coach. I will offer my services If the PCB contacts me," Akhtar told reporters at the NCA in Lahore. "It's an honour to serve the country and it can be done by helping the upcoming bowlers. It will give me a chance to pay back what the country has given me."

Akhtar, who retired after the World Cup in 2011, had 178 Test and 247 ODI wickets in a 14-year-long career marred by controversies and injuries.

"The current lot of bowlers are good, but not as good as what we are known for in our strong history of fast bowling," he said. "I always hear that we have talent, but what is more important is to hunt down that talent. Unfortunately, we have been struggling in fast bowling for the last one and half years."

Akhtar suggested that the PCB use the services of past greats, like Imran Khan, to unearth talent. "He [Imran] has that eye to spot the talent and it would be ideal if he could take out some time."

Pakistan, Akhtar said, had the in-house talent for the job, but he also suggested Daryl Foster as a possibility to return to the job he held in 2003, if Pakistan had to look outside. Recently, the PCB had also made a formal offer to Wasim Akram for a short-term coaching role for young fast bowlers but an agreement couldn't be reached owing to Akram's busy schedule.

Commenting on the upcoming series against Australia in UAE, Akhtar said that the onus would be on spinners in the absence of experienced fast-bowlers. Pakistan have dropped Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami for the tour. "Pakistan is already lacking true strike bowlers and [Umar] Gul obviously will be missed this time. If pitches in UAE are flat, then I am afraid things won't be good for the young fast-bowlers and the spinners, as usual, will have to take the extra load."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent