The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Miandad gets the boot
- PCB pulls off a coup, names Woolmer as coach till 2007
Javed Miandad

Calcutta: Javed Miandad, who wasn’t comfortable with the present-day coaching methods and was forever unhappy at having “limited powers,” has been sacked as Pakistan’s coach with almost a year of his 24-month contract remaining.

For the legendary batsman, it’s another incomplete innings as coach.

If Miandad’s removal is a surprise, given that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan himself recently announced status-quo would be maintained, an even bigger surprise is the appointment of the Kanpur-born Bob Woolmer as successor.

The 56-year-old Woolmer, who played for England in the Seventies, is going to be Pakistan’s second full-fledged coach from overseas after South African Richard Pybus, who had two lacklustre terms.

The decision was made public on Wednesday evening, after the PCB Advisory Council meeting in Karachi.

The technology-savvy Woolmer, who has been anchoring the International Cricket Council’s high-performance drive in the emerging nations, will arrive in Pakistan on July 2 and the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka is going to be assignment No.1.

His contract is till the 2007 World Cup.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Woolmer was “sounded out” by Shaharyar when he visited Pakistan for an Asian Cricket Council seminar last month. However, it wasn’t indicated that he would have to take a decision in a couple of weeks itself.

The change-Miandad-move seems to have quietly gained momentum after the last Advisory Council meeting. Specifically, Shaharyar began to “aggressively pursue” Woolmer, who recast South African cricket during his tenure as the Proteas’ coach, which ended with the 1999 World Cup.

Shaharyar’s job became easier once chief executive Rameez Raja, a former captain, “backed” the change.

Woolmer speaks to
The Telegraph
“Yes, I have shifted from my stance of the last few years — that I wouldn’t like to be tied down with a national team… But, then, I thought let me accept another chance before I get too old! I’m glad Pakistan thought I’m the one most suited to take the team forward… Their officials, by the way, were very persuasive… There’s enormous talent and the country has outstanding fast bowlers… The issue is consistency… Of course, I’m going to put a structure in place, but won’t talk about it till I’ve spoken to the captain and the rest of the players… Frankly, I need to be clear about their work-ethic… Am I worried about the high turnover of coaches in Pakistan' Believe me, not at all… I’ve been assigned a job, for three years, and I’ll be focussed on that… But, yes, nobody can turn things around at the flick of a finger — if that was possible, we would be living in a different world…”

Incidentally, current skipper Inzamam-ul Haq didn’t exactly let it be known that he was uncomfortable with Miandad. Equally, he didn’t suggest (to the PCB brass) that Miandad was taking the pressure off him.

One understands it’s Shaharyar who conveyed the bad news to Miandad “three-four days ago.”

The one-time captain was “deeply disappointed,” but had no choice. As a sop, Shaharyar offered him the post of national adviser on cricket development, but he declined.

In keeping with the terms of his contract, Miandad will be “paid out” by the PCB. It couldn’t be confirmed, but he is going to get around Rs 5 lakh (50 per cent of his regular fee) for each of the next 11 months.

“We needed a change, a coach who favours regular analysis and somebody who should gel with everybody… And, let me emphasise it’s only a coincidence this is coming about after the defeats at the hands of India,” informed Rameez, speaking exclusively late at night.

He added: “Perhaps because of his CV, Pybus wasn’t able to get the results… Generally, though, coaches from overseas have done wonders… John Wright in India and, in recent months, even Dav Whatmore with Bangladesh… I believe we’ve effected our change at the right time…”

Miandad wasn’t very particular about a full-time physical trainer, but the PCB has decided to hire one: South African Andy Gray. The trainer, however, will join in September and, till then, an ad-hoc appointment is going to be made.

One isn’t sure of the impact Gray will have, but Woolmer --- who was playing golf at the Mowbray Club in Cape Town when the PCB unleashed a shocker --- is bound to change the face of Pakistan cricket.

He means business.

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