The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced Misbah-ul-Haq as the new head coach of the national cricket team.
Misbah succeeds South African Mickey Arthur, who had sought a two-year extension from the PCB but was not granted one.
The man from Mianwali, who beat compatriots Mohsin Hasan Khan and Australia’s Dean Jones for the job, has been granted a three year contract. He was the unanimous choice of the five-member panel picked by the PCB to interview coaching candidates.
This is Misbah’s first foray in coaching at any level. His inexperience at the top level is why several former cricketers, including Saqlain Mushtaq, had advised the PCB to first try him at lower levels before exposing him to the main job.
Some others, especially TV commentator Ramiz Raja, are of the view that Misbah is not right for the job as his approach to the game is too “defensive and dated”.
Meanwhile, Waqar Younis has been named the bowling coach and has also been handed a three year contract, succeeding Azhar Mahmood.
It is pertinent to mention that there was no suggestion of a batting coach, with pre-announcement reports indicating that the PCB was unlikely to appoint one in the presence of Misbah, who himself was a specialist batsman in his playing days.
“I know expectations are high, but I am absolutely ready and up for the task otherwise I would not have thrown my name in the hat for one of the most challenging and coveted roles in Pakistan cricket," Misbah said.
“We have some of the most talented and exciting cricketers, and I will like to help them train and prepare in such a way that they can play intelligently, smartly and fearlessly. I am aware this will require a change in the dressing room culture but if we have to compete consistently at the highest level, we have to embrace these modern day requirements.
“We need to understand this is a performance-oriented world and only those Pakistan players have thrived in the past who have taken the pride in donning the star and crest on their chests by delivering every time they have stepped on to the field.
“That’s the way I have played my cricket all through my career and this will not change in my new role," he said.
“I am excited to once again have someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Waqar Younis in my corner as a bowling coach. We have exciting young fast bowlers in our ranks and there is no better person than Waqar to transform them into modern day stars," added Misbah.
“Both Waqar and I had a candid and frank discussion and we discussed and agreed on a number of things, including roles and responsibilities as well as how to take things forward.
“As I prepare to begin a new phase in my career, I want to thank my family, friends, former team-mates, the PCB and my club, departmental and franchise sides for supporting me in my journey," he concluded.