New setback in Pakistan’s search for head coach

Karachi, May 5

Pakistan’s search for a new national coach hit a fresh roadblock on Thursday as officials said their top pick, Australia’s Stuart Law, turned down a job widely seen as one of the toughest in international cricket.

The post was left vacant after Waqar Younis resigned following Pakistan’s disastrous World Twenty20 in India last month, where they triumphed in only one of four matches before crashing out. The job is complicated by the relatively low pay and Pakistan’s security issues, while attempts to build relationships with volatile national players are often hampered by its high turnover. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) formed a two-man committee — comprising ex-captains Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja — to conduct the search.

They shortlisted Law and his fellow countryman Dean Jones, England’s Andy Moles and South African Mickey Arthur. The PCB wants to fill the post before Pakistan’s all-important tour of England beginning in July, where they play four Tests, one Twenty20 and five ODIs. A final decision is expected by Friday.

Pakistan has had four foreign coaches in the past: Richard Pybus (two tenures in 1999 and 2002-03), Bob Woolmer (2004-07), Geoff Lawson (2007-2008) and Dav Whatmore (2012-14).  The board’s budget for the head coach salary is reportedly $16,000 to $20,000 per month — much less than similar positions elsewhere.

Meanwhile foreign coaches balk at touring a country where international cricket has been suspended since an extremist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

While Jones has no experience of coaching an international team, Moles had stints with Hong Kong, Kenya, Scotland, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Arthur was appointed Australia’s coach in 2013 but was sacked mid-way through the Ashes that same year. Pakistan also talked to England’s Peter Moores, Australian Tom Moody and South Africa’s Paddy Upton, but all turned down the offer.