Pakistan’s search for a new national coach hit a fresh roadblock on Thursday as officials said their top pick, Australia’s Stuart Law, turned down a job widely seen as one of the toughest in international cricket.
The post was left vacant after Waqar Younis resigned following Pakistan’s disastrous World Twenty20 in India last month, where they triumphed in only one of four matches before crashing out.
The job is complicated by the relatively low pay and Pakistan’s security issues, while attempts to build relationships with volatile national players are often hampered by its high turnover.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) formed a two-man committee—comprising ex-captains Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja—to conduct the search.
They shortlisted Law and his fellow countryman Dean Jones, England’s Andy Moles and South African Mickey Arthur.
“We had shortlisted four foreigners but… Law has excused himself as he is committed with the Australian team as batting coach and will not be available before September this year,” said a PCB official, who did not wish to be named.
The PCB wants to fill the post before Pakistan’s all-important tour of England beginning in July, where they play four Tests, one Twenty20 and five one-day internationals.
A final decision is expected by Friday.
Pakistan has had four foreign coaches in the past: Richard Pybus (two tenures in 1999 and 2002-03), Bob Woolmer (2004-07), Geoff Lawson (2007-2008) and Dav Whatmore (2012-14).
The board’s budget for the head coach salary is reportedly £11,000 to £14,000 per month—much less than similar positions elsewhere.
Meanwhile foreign coaches balk at touring a country where international cricket has been suspended since an extremist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.
While Jones has no experience of coaching an international team, Moles had stints with Hong Kong, Kenya, Scotland, New Zealand and Afghanistan.
Arthur successfully coached his native South Africa for five years (2005-2010) before migrating to Australia.
He was appointed Australia’s coach in 2013 but was sacked mid-way through the Ashes that same year.
Pakistan also talked to England’s Peter Moores, Australian Tom Moody and South Africa’s Paddy Upton, but all turned down the offer.
Former Pakistan players Aaqib Javed and Mohsin Khan have refused to apply, alleging favouritism in the process.
Javed resigned as United Arab Emirates coach last month and is now involved with the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore franchise.
Mohsin had an interim stint in 2012 and under him Pakistan beat then world number one England 3-0, but lost the one-day series.
The only local coach in the running is paceman Mohammad Akram, a former Pakistan bowling coach who also served at the national cricket academy in Lahore.