Miandad responds positively to Lawson’s offer to ‘join in’

Thursday, July 19, 2007

KARACHI: Former Pakistan great Javed Miandad on Wednesday responded positively to Pakistan’s new coach Geoff Lawson offer to work with him for the benefit of the national team but said that the move from the Australian is a ‘slap on the faces’ of people at the helm of cricket affairs in this country.

“Geoff Lawson is most welcome, anytime,”
he told ‘The News’ while responding to Lawson’s comment that Miandad ‘has much to offer Pakistan cricket’.

“I was and am always available whenever Pakistan cricket would need me,”
added the former Pakistan captain who had three stints as the national coach but was ignored this time by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which opted for a foreigner to replace former coach Bob Woolmer recently.

However, Miandad was non-committal when asked whether he would be interested to work as a specialist batting coach under Lawson.
“It is premature to say anything on it,”
he said.
“There is no such offer at the moment so I would only think about it if there is any such possibility in the future.”
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed Lawson, a fast bowler, as the national team coach on Monday and said that they have the option of roping in a batting coach to assist the Australian.
Lawson’s appointment was bitterly criticised by several former Pakistani captains including Miandad, who believed that the ex-Aussie Test pacer was a bad choice as the national coach.
However, Lawson, who is scheduled to take over as Pakistan coach ahead of September’s Twenty20 Cup in South Africa, responded positively to the wave of criticism and said that he would try to get the support of his top critics, especially Miandad.

In an interview that appeared in an Australian newspaper on Wednesday, Lawson said that Miandad was a great cricketer and can still contribute a lot to Pakistan cricket.

“I’d like to get Javed on board to be part of the coaching crew, to be part of the system and help out, because he was an outstanding player and a tough bloke as well,”
Lawson was quoted as saying.
“We could do with a few of those characteristics among the guys at the moment.”

Lawson added,
“I’m hoping to talk to all those people and see what contributions they can make. We can’t control outside influences but it would be good if we could have some of those outside influences being positive.”

Miandad claimed that Lawson’s offer to help him with his assignment was a slap on the faces of top PCB officials.

“Lawson and many other cricket personalities from around the world like (Sir Vivian) Richards or (Sunil) Gavaskar fully acknowledge the part I have played in the growth of Pakistan cricket both as a cricketer and coach. Unfortunately, the only people who are not even bothered to know about it are the ones who are running Pakistan cricket now. Lawson’s offer is a slap on the faces of those officials.”

Miandad and two more former captains Intikhab Alam and Zaheer Abbas had slammed the PCB for hiring a foreign coach saying that local coaches could do a better job.

“You cannot expect a foreigner to have the same feeling of patriotism or nationalism that a Pakistani does? Instead of bringing in foreigners the board should first try to improve the grass-root cricket level,”
Miandad had said while commenting on the appointment of Lawson earlier this week.

“If these foreign coaches can give a guarantee that the team will achieve a certain level of performance, fine. Otherwise it is a waste of money for me.”

Lawson, however, pointed out that few teams in international sports these days are doing without foreign coaches.
“In the contemporary era of any professional sport, people just want the personnel who are going to do the best for the team,”
Lawson was quoted as saying by The Australian.

“In soccer, the world game, how many teams are actually coached by someone from their own country?”

Miandad rubbished such claims but said that he would willingly give Lawson useful advise on cricket matters once he takes over as coach.

“When Bob Woolmer took over as coach, I invited him for dinner and assured him my complete support,”
Miandad recalled.
“Even though he came in as coach after I was removed from the post. But I didn’t mind helping him out because I thought it was for the betterment of our cricket. But the problem was that after taking just one advise, Woolmer grew so allergic of me that he started avoiding me. I hope it would be different with Lawson.”

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