Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
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The PCB has appointed Mark Coles as head coach of the Pakistan women's team for the upcoming series against New Zealand in the UAE. The move to bring in a foreigner - Coles is from New Zealand - in the coaching staff is a part of an ongoing revamp in the women's circuit.
A PCB release said that Coles' appointment was "on trial basis", where he will be working as a volunteer with the national team and assigned only for the upcoming New Zealand series.
The team, under the leadership of Sana Mir, lost all seven matches at the Women's World Cup earlier this year and finished last on the points table. In a scathing report presented by coach Sabhi Azhar after Pakistan's poor show in the tournament, he singled out the captain, manager and a few senior players as the reason for the winless campaign. The PCB is assessing the report to identify the problems and intends to revamp the entire structure, which may see a few sackings, some recruitments and even a change of captaincy.
"We have tried so many Pakistani coaches till date without better results," PCB chairman Najam Sethi told ESPNcricinfo. "It is time to get more professional input into women's cricket like we have successfully done with the men's national team. The intention is to set up a professional management team that will be given time to deliver results."
Coles, who has played six List A games for Wellington, comes with an extensive coaching background in the New Zealand and Australian domestic circuit. He was previously development manager for Waikato Valley and held several coaching jobs, working as a high-performance manager for the Western Australia and Wellington women's cricket teams. His highest coaching role till date at the international level had been with ICC Affiliate Vanuatu. He also coached the Wellington Blaze to a T20 title in 2013, as well as being part of the Northern Districts High Performance coaching staff from 2014.
"It was tough for them, but they competed really well over there [2017 Women's World Cup]," Coles told Stuff.co.nz after his appointment was made official. "I think they just lost the big moments in those games. They played well, but when the big moments came they couldn't get the job done. Obviously the public just want them to win, like any international team. The team has been developing really nicely, so hopefully we can continue that."
Pakistan's women's team has never had a long-term or specialised coaching staff. Over the past few years, appointments have been made on a series-by-series basis. Azhar, who is also Rawalpindi's head coach, was brought in only a few weeks before the World Cup. Mansoor Rana and Mohtashim Rasheed have spent a longer time in coaching roles with the team in the past. Basit Ali briefly served as coach before being sacked earlier this year.
Coles' first assignment is to lead Pakistan to the UAE to face New Zealand in three ODIs and four T20Is. The series is part of the ICC's Women's Cricket Championship, a four-year tournament that ends in 2021, with the top four teams at the end gaining automatic qualification to the Women's World Cup in 2021. The series will be considered a home series for Pakistan, and the games will be played in Sharjah.