Azhar Mahmood offered role of Pakistan's assistant coach
Azhar Mahmood's immense knowledge about the English conditions could come handy for Pakistan during their England tour this summer.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has offered the former all-rounder, Azhar Mahmood, the role of the assistant coach with the Pakistan cricket team. Shaharyar Khan, the Chairman of the PCB, confirmed the news that Azhar has been approached for the job and will join the national squad that will tour England this summer. The offered job will also include the duties of a bowling coach.
“Azhar has agreed to take up the assignment but will confirm once he has settled some contractual obligations with his county in England,” Shaharyar Khan said.
Khan also mentioned that Azhar’s appointment has been made after a deliberation with the new head coach, Mickey Arthur. The former Aussie coach had requested the PCB for a Pakistani origin assistant coach as he would be able to help him settle down with the team and also understand the cultural issues within the players from different parts of the country.
“Mickey Arthur had specifically asked us to appoint a Pakistani assistant coach with him as this would make it easier for him to settle down quickly in the team and also communicate and understand the players psyche better,” Khan added.
With Pakistan’s challenging tour of England knocking on the door, the Rawalpindi born’s inclusion will definitely benefit the team as the 41-year-old has spent the majority of his career playing county cricket in England. Azhar Mahmood also acquired British citizenship in 2012 and has immense knowledge about English conditions.
Arthur, who was heavily criticised for not joining the team sooner, reached Lahore on Thursday to formally take charge of the squad, which has already been announced for the four-Test series in England.
According to reports, the newly appointed head coach was keen to include former Test leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the support staff, but the veteran failed to join due to his commitments with the National Cricket Academy. The PCB said that the latter couldn’t be released from his duties since, Mudassar Nazar, the new Director of academies is due to take over from Ahmed on 15 June.
Azhar has prior experience with the Pakistan team as he was a part of their coaching staff during the World T20 in India earlier this year. He was appointed as a bowling coach for the tournament on a special short-term assignment.
After Pakistan faltered badly and failed to qualify for the knockouts, major changes in the team management were made with then head coach Waqar Younis stepping down from his job and the national selection committee being disabled.