Lawson now favourite to become Pak coach as Whatmore loses ground

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

KARACHI: Dav Whatmore is slowly losing ground as fellow Australian Geoffrey Francis Lawson has now emerged as a new favourite to take over as Pakistan’s cricket coach later this month.
‘The News’ has learnt through reliable sources that as the two-horse race is nearing its climax, the tide is slowly turning in the favour of Lawson, a former Australian Test pacer as the Pakistani team management and most of the senior players are backing him to become Bob Woolmer’s successor. Pakistan are to announce their new coach next week.

Lawson, 49, was interviewed by top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials in Bhurban last month and he also met with the Pakistani players who were at that time training in Abbottabad.
Sources say that both the PCB officials and the players were impressed by Lawson, who may not be a high-profile coach like Whatmore but ‘he did came across as a man capable of producing positive results’.

Whatmore, 53, was the last man to be interviewed by the PCB officials and he was touted as the favourite for the post because of his solid credentials.

The Colombo-born Whatmore had an insignificant international career for Australia in which he played just seven Tests and scored 293 runs at 22.53. He also played a solitary One-day International.

But he had a successful career as coach leading Sri Lanka to their only World Cup triumph in 1996. He quit as Bangladesh coach after the World Cup where his team reached the second round.

In stark contrast, Lawson doesn’t have a world title under his belt as a coach but he did enjoy an illustrious career with Australia during which he played 46 Tests and took 180 wickets.

Whatmore was touted as a hot favourite to take over as India’s coach after the World Cup but could not even make the short list for the job. After missing out on that opportunity, Whatmore showed an interest in coaching Pakistan.

Sources say that senior team players and a couple of officials have told top PCB officials that they would be more comfortable working with Lawson than Whatmore.

Recently, team manager Talat Ali was ‘warned’ by former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga against appointing Whatmore as the Pakistan coach. Ranatunga was the captain and Whatmore coach when Sri Lanka won the World Cup held in the sub-continent.

Sources say that Talat will have a meeting with PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf in Lahore today and one of the main items on the agenda would be the selection of the coach.

Though Talat, a former Test cricketer doesn’t have a say in the appointment of the coach, sources said that he would express his personal feelings as well as conveying reservations shown by senior players over the appointment of Whatmore as the coach.

The new Pakistan coach is likely to begin his tenure with a training camp to be held in Karachi from July 26 in preparation for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup to be held in South Africa in September.

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Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?