Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf feels the appointment of a batting coach for the national team has become a challenging task given the interest shown by some of the country's stalwarts in the job. "It will be a demanding process now to take a decision on who will be Pakistan's batting coach," he said.
Ashraf's remarks came hours after Pakistan's former captain and most-capped player Inzamam-ul-Haq also expressed his interest in the position. "If the board makes me an offer I will definitely give it serious consideration. Because I would love to help our batsmen improve their game," Inzamam told reporters in his hometown Multan.
Before Inzamam, former batting greats Zaheer Abbas and Salim Malik had also expressed their interest in the job. While Malik, who was banned for life for his role in the match fixing scandal in 2000, has formally applied for the job, Zaheer who is a member of the coaching committee said he was willing to step down to become batting coach of the national team.
The PCB had set a deadline of November 5 for interested candidates from within the country and abroad to apply for the position which is expected to be finalised this month. The coaching committee is expected to meet this week to shortlist candidates and recommend their names to the board Chairman and executive coordination committee for approval.
A reliable source said some foreigners with coaching credentials had also applied for the position. "While Inzamam, Zaheer and Malik are no doubt big names in Pakistan cricket they are problems with their eligibility as none of them have done the level three coaching nor have experience of working with an elite player or team which is the requirement set by the board," the source said.
He pointed out that they were also problems with Malik's eligibility as it was still unclear whether the ICC would allow him to be given any official coaching position with the national team. "And it is still not clear whether his ban was been set aside by any court of law," the source added.
He, however, admitted that Zaheer was a prime candidate for the position despite his qualification problems as he had previously worked with the national team as manager and was well respected by the players and in the cricket community. Inzamam also told the media that the board had done the right thing by deciding to appoint a professional batting coach as it was the need of the times.
"There is no doubt that we need to bring in more consistency in our batting and we need someone to groom our younger players and fine tune the seniors when required," he said.