Mohammad Akram named Pakistan bowling coach
Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Akram has been named Pakistan's bowling coach for a probationary period of one year. He will join the squad in the UAE for the series against Australia, Intikhab Alam, the PCB director, announced today.
Pakistan was without a bowling coach since the former fast bowler Aaqib Javed resigned to be UAE's head coach after the series against England last year.
"After a lengthy deliberation we have decided to appoint Mohammad Akram as Pakistan bowling coach," Alam said. "Stuart Barnes [of] England was also shortlisted but unfortunately [Barnes] was not available immediately and we found Akram more suitable for the role."
Akram, who played nine Tests and 23 ODIs for Pakistan between 1995 and 2001, is settled in England and has represented Essex, Sussex, Surrey and Northamptonshire. He played 125 matches and picked up 415 wickets in his 15-year first-class career. However, he hadn't been involved with any of the first-class teams in England and Pakistan in a coaching capacity.
The appointment, therefore, didn't meet the criteria that were advertised for the position, requiring at least five years of experience with the elite cricketers at international level. Alam, however, said he was convinced that Akram's playing experience in county cricket and his engagement with universities in England as a consultant was enough to warrant his selection.
"He is a decent and experienced coach, and has good reputation," Alam said. "We have appointed him [for] a period of one year in which he will remain under our observation and if things go well with him, his contract will definitely be extended. The scope of the job isn't restricted to the national side but his services will be expanded to the academies and the regional level as well."
Akram, 37, was overshadowed by the presence of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis while playing for Pakistan. He had more success on the first-class circuit, but was charged with ball-tampering - a Level 2 breach of the ECB disciplinary code - during his Sussex stint in 2004 . He's been living in England since his last international appearance for Pakistan in 2001 and completed his last county deal with Surrey in 2007.
Akram hadn't expressed his interest in coaching until 2009, opting to do commentary instead. "It would be a good challenge for him to deliver and we can understand that he has the potential to take care of our bowlers," Alam said. "We are all with him and hope he will meet our expectations and produce results."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent