Yet again a dramatic U-turn from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). After initially reluctant to appoint former Test leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as assistant coach for the upcoming England tour, they have now agreed to rope in Mushtaq as chief coach Mickey Arthur’s assistant. It’s believed that it was the new Pakistan coach who forced PCB to change their decision.
“The board had initially rejected Arthur’s recommendation that Mushtaq should be attached as assistant coach with the team for the tour to England and it had told the new coach he will be assisted by former test all-rounder Azhar Mahmood,” a source close to Pak board told PTI.
The source claimed, It was not possible to appoint Azhar as he is not available for the first part of the tour because of his prior commitments with English county, Surrey.
“With Azhar not available for the Tests, the board found itself in a dicey situation with Arthur asking as to who would be assisting him as the team leaves for England around June 17th,” the source said.
He further revealed, with a very little time in hand, PCB finally decided to allow Mushtaq to go with the Pakistan team for the England tour.
“Initially, the board had explained to Arthur they couldn’t release Mushtaq since he was now working as head coach at the NCA in Lahore.”
The irony comes here with a pinch of salt, the board had scrapped Mushtaq quietly from the assistant coach role when Waqar Younis was head coach ahead of the Asia Cup and World T20 earlier this year.
Mushtaq has enjoyed his time with the Pakistan team as coaching staff and member of team management on several occasions since 2014. His coaching credentials are quite heavy because of his experience in England; he has worked with England as a spin-bowling consultant. He is at present working as the head coach at the NCA in Lahore and will be released from those duties for the Test series.
It is also believed PCB had accepted new coach Arthur’s recommendation to appoint former Australian wicketkeeper Steve Rixon as fielding coach of the national team with Zimbabwe’s Grant Ludon at present working as a trainer.
Rixon was with the Australian team as an assistant coach until January 2014 when Darren Lehmann decided to rope in his own hand-picked support staff.
There is another significant decision PCB has taken, appointing a public relations firm in the United Kingdom for the duration of the Pakistan team’s tour.
“The public relations firm will be responsible for working with the Pakistan team management in England and will ensure that a positive image of Pakistan cricket is built throughout the tour,” the source further said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had last month tried their best to bring in a foreign media professional as a media manager of the Pakistan team in England but couldn’t convince two candidates to accept the offer.