Waqar Younis steps down as Pakistan coach
Waqar Younis has resigned as Pakistan's coach three months before his contract was going to end, and only one day after Shahid Afridi relinquished his T20 captaincy. Waqar took the decision after meeting PCB officials in Lahore.
The two resignations came after Pakistan's disappointing performances in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and the World T20 in India. Pakistan won only three games out of the eight they played across the two tournaments and failed to make it beyond the first round. The last series Pakistan won in any format was last October, when they beat England 2-0 in a three-Test series in the UAE. After that, Pakistan lost the ODI and T20 series to England, and then traveled to New Zealand to again lose the T20 and ODI series. They won only two of the 12 limited-overs matches they played in all against England and New Zealand. Pakistan are currently ranked a respectable fourth in Tests, but eighth in ODIs and seventh in T20Is in the ICC rankings.
"It's time to go," Waqar said. "With disappointment and pain I would like to inform that I decide to resign as the Pakistan coach. In last 19 months of my job I was completely honest and didn't leave any stone unturned to help the team achieve the best but unfortunately we couldn't get the results.
"It was slightly unfair by the board the way the whole case had been handled as my report was leaked and none of the board officials tried to talk about all this. But in all this, I do not want all of you, including ex-cricketers, to forget my services to Pakistan cricket."
Waqar had recently presented a scathing report, after Pakistan's exit from the World T20, in which he criticised the PCB's decision of not giving him a say in the selection process and lambasted Afridi's style of captaincy. The report was an overview of his two-year term as coach and was submitted to the PCB chairman Shahryar Khan and to the board's fact-finding committee. The PCB later announced on Monday, among several other measures, that a panel comprising Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja would assist the board in finding a new coach.
A day before submitting that report, Waqar had offered to step down but had said cosmetic changes would be insufficient to solve the deeper issues in Pakistan cricket.
"I am stepping aside with with a heavy heart, and what can I say, the present circumstances aren't good in PCB," Waqar said on Monday. "They were looking to make me a scapegoat so it was important for me that I should go with respect."
It was Waqar's second tenure as coach after he was appointed in May 2014 for a two-year contract that was due to end on June 30 before the tour of England. By stepping down at this juncture, Waqar will forgo three months' salary; he advised the board to invest that money in domestic cricket.
"I am being portrayed as the villain," he said. "Whatever I said in past five days wasn't a lie. I want Pakistan cricket in good shape and hence gave recommendations which are already out in public. I hope my suggestions will help the upcoming coach if they are rightly understood for the betterment of Pakistan cricket.
"I had three months remaining in my contract and some Rs 50-60 lakh with PCB but I told them to invest them in domestic cricket where it is actually needed. Players there at the first-class level are being underprepared. Until you don't invest at the right place you will not get the right players to the top level. If money isn't invested then I am afraid after next five-six years someone else will be standing here and cursing PCB and the system."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson