The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pakistan may approach Whatmore, says report
- Ban for a ‘few matches’ likely on Shoaib Akhtar

Islamabad: Coach Javed Miandad and Shoaib Akhtar were likely to be made the “fall guys” for Pakistan’s embarrassing one-day and Test series defeat to India, a local daily reported on Thursday.

A Pakistan Cricket Board official was quoted as saying by The News that the board was thinking of replacing Miandad with Australian Dav Whatmore while banning Shoaib for a “few matches” since the pacer had let the team down by opting to sit out in pretext of injury in the Rawalpindi decider.

“Basically, the situation with Miandad is that there is a feeling he has been given enough time to prove that the team has developed and improved under him.

“Secondly, the feeling is that he (Miandad) is not willing to accept the responsibility for any shortcomings against India and is opposed to introduction of modern technology in the team,” said the official.

The former captain had recently met PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and had insisted that he was not to be blamed for the debacle as he had tried his best.

“When Shaharyar spoke about making more use of computer technology in the team, Miandad opposed the idea and felt having a computer analyst would serve no purpose as the players were not willing to listen and improve.”

The official said there was a general feeling in the board that efforts should be made to approach Whatmore, who is currently coaching Bangladesh, to take charge from Miandad.

“Whatmore is regarded with great respect in Pakistan and the talk is that he should be approached to end his contract with Bangladesh and take over the Pakistan team in the next few months. But everything depends on whether he makes himself available,” he said.

Recently another newspaper had reporterd that PCB chief executive Rameez Raja had sounded former Australian cricketer Dean Jones for the job.

Under Whatmore, Sri Lanka emerged as a strong team winning the 1996 World Cup and also improving their Test rankings. “The PCB chief also believes that the team needs to have a full time bowling coach and a fitness trainer and for this purpose the board might seek the help of Australian bowling coach Daryl Foster and trainer Dennis Waight, who was attached with the team during the World Cup when no major injury problem occurred in the seven-week tournament,” he said.

The source also said Shoaib was clearly in trouble.

“There is pressure from people in the government to take action against him as they feel for too long he has been given a free reign. It was the final straw when he let the team down in the series against India because of problems with Inzamam-ul Haq.”

Meanwhile, Rameez’s father Raja Saleem Akhtar passed away in Lahore on Thursday afternoon following a cardiac arrest. He was 80. His funeral will be held on Friday.


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