Waqar Younis’ tenure as Pakistan’s head coach was quite a dramatic one. The former pacer was made the side’s coach on two occasions, and both the times, there were some episodes, which reflect the typical misfortunes of the game in Pakistan. While his recent tenure was full of ugly spats with his players and other members of the management, it will always be his first tenure which will be remembered more.
During his first stint, the ironic spot-fixing scandal came to the fore, where three Pakistani players – skipper Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and teenage pacer Mohammad Amir were found guilty of spot fixing the fourth test against England at Lord’s. In a recent interaction with ESPN Cricinfo, Younis has bluntly admitted that he wanted to quit after the ugly scandal broke out.
“We all were very upset with the whole episode and everyone was down and out, and we couldn’t really play the next day,” Waqar said. “I still remember the late Yawar Saeed was the manager, and he was very upset and we couldn’t do anything and it was very, very ugly. “Even at one stage, I thought ‘that’s it, do I really want to work, do I really want to carry on with this whole thing?’ I went back and I spoke to my family and I couldn’t really leave the team at the time. I went back and thought about it and I wanted to back these guys.”
Younis said that after realizing that the team needed him, he decided to stay on as the coach. “It’s not their fault, it’s maybe one or two who have done it, but the rest, they don’t deserve all this and if I leave now, it’s going to get worse. Then, Misbah ul-Haq took over as captain and things started to sort of rolling better and we did extremely well after that.”
Sympathizing with pacer Mohammad Amir for his deeds, Younis added, “Amir was very, very down and why I feel for him is that because he was only like 17 then or 18, very young and from a very humble background, very poor background.” “Someone who has been asked to do certain things for, you know, such a big amount, that’s how I take it.”
“He suffered a lot for five years, and my religion also says that if someone has done something and has been punished and the entire society has punished him for all these years, he deserves a chance. And, the same way, I feel that Salman Butt deserves a chance, Mohammad Asif deserves a chance. They have been through all the punishment they deserve,” said Younis.