Lawson named Pak coach

Islamabad, July 16:

Pakistan named former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson as the new cricket coach to succeed Bob Woolmer, who died during the World Cup in the Caribbean in March.

Lawson, 49, was picked by a four-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee over two other Australians, Dav Whatmore and Richard Done.

“Of the three, Lawson has been confirmed. We had three outstanding coaches,” PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf said. Lawson was awarded a two-year contract open for renewal “as we want a coach to lead us to the 2011 World Cup,” Ashraf said.

Lawson took 180 wickets in 46 Tests and 88 in 79 one-dayers for Australia between 1980-89. He said earlier that he regarded the position — seen as one of the most difficult in the game — as “a wonderful challenge.” “It’s such a talented squad they have over there,” he told Sky News.

Lawson has no direct experience as an international coach. But he has coached the New South Wales team in Australia and was reportedly backed by most of the Pakistan team’s players, who found him more friendly. Reports in Australia said it was believed the Pakistan board had wanted Whatmore, who has coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but went with the players’ wishes.