"Both Saqlain and Razzaq are ready to step up and are very much looking forward to making important contributions in their coaching roles against New Zealand"Wasim Khan, PCB chief executive
Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis have stepped down from their positions as head coach and bowling coach of the national men's team respectively. Misbah cited spending "considerable time away from my family in a bio-secure environment" because of Covid-19-related restrictions as the reason for his decision, while Waqar said that since he and Misbah had started out in their roles together, it made sense to also step away together. With New Zealand scheduled to arrive in Pakistan for a white-ball series later this month, the PCB has appointed Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq as interim coaches of the team.
Misbah and Waqar communicated their decisions to the PCB on Monday morning, around the time the squads for the upcoming series against New Zealand and England at home, as well as the T20 World Cup, were made public. They had been appointed to their positions in September 2019, and still had a year left in their contracts.
The influence of Ramiz Raja, the PCB chairman-in-waiting, is quite apparent in the development. Ramiz has been nominated by Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister as well as the PCB's patron-in-chief, to the Board of Governors, and although he is not the chairman officially until September 13, he has a direct involvement in the PCB's affairs. He's met with all the PCB departments already, and is believed to have had provided inputs for the ODI and T20I squads.
"The quarantine in Jamaica post the West Indies series provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past 24 months as well as the schedule for international cricket ahead," Misbah said in a statement issued by the PCB. "Considering that I would have had to continue to spend considerable time away from my family and that too in a bio-secure environment, I have decided to step down from the role.
"I understand that the timing may not be ideal but I don't think I am in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges and it makes sense for someone fresh to step in and take the side forward.
"The past 24 months have been thoroughly enjoyable and I want to thank my team and the management for their support. I wish the Pakistan cricket team best of luck in the upcoming events and will continue to support them every time they will take the field to represent Pakistan."
Waqar called his decision "straightforward" once he knew what Misbah was thinking.
"After Misbah shared with me his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward one for me to resign as we had walked into the roles together, had worked collectively as a pair and now also step down together," he said. "Working with the Pakistan bowlers, including the youngsters, has been most satisfying as they have now started to show progress. Bio-secure environments in the past 16 months have had their impact, something we had never experienced during our playing days.
"The next eight months will be busy and exciting for the Pakistan team and, like in the past, I will continue to back and cheer them. I want to thank each and every member of the Pakistan cricket team set-up as we stayed united in good and bad days, and hope there will be more brighter days ahead."
Wasim Khan, the PCB's chief executive, called Misbah and Waqar's decision "honorable", and said that Saqlain and Razzaq, who are both experienced coaches, were ready for the step up.
"The PCB understands and respects Misbah's decision. Cricket in this unprecedented bio-secure world has not been easy for anyone and Misbah has clearly taken into account the intense six months of non-stop cricket ahead," Wasim said. "In the past 24 months, Misbah has given his very best to the team and we wish him well in his future endeavors.
"It has been an honorable decision by Waqar and we thank him sincerely for his immense work and commitment over the past two years and wish him the very best in the future. Both Misbah and Waqar have given so much to Pakistan cricket over a long period of time and for that they deserve a huge amount of respect.
"Saqlain is the Head of International Player Development at the National High Performance Centre, while Abdul Razzaq's domestic side [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but he had shifted to Central Punjab after that] won three titles in the 2020-21 season. Both Saqlain and Razzaq are ready to step-up and are very much looking forward to making important contributions in their coaching roles against New Zealand."
ICC Men's T20 World Cup
New Zealand in Pakistan