PCB sounds out Shane Watson to coach Pakistan

Pakistan
The PCB has sounded out former Australian allrounder Shane Watson as one of its prime contenders for the head coaching role of the men’s national side.
The side currently does not have a head coach and wishes to find a candidate for the top job before New Zealand visits Pakistan for a white-ball series in April. It is understood the PCB is eager to find someone to fill the role on a permanent rather than temporary basis, as was the case when Mohammad Hafeez was appointed for tours of Australia and New Zealand in December and January.
Watson is currently in Pakistan and was appointed coach of the Quetta Gladiators in the PSL this year. He has overseen a turnaround for the franchise, who are set to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in five years.
While Watson is not the only one the PCB are looking at – former West Indies captain Daren Sammy is another desired candidate – ESPNcricinfo understands Watson has been approached. However, it is not yet guaranteed he will accept the job should an offer come his way.

He lives in Sydney with his young family and already has a busy schedule throughout the year. He serves as coach of the San Francisco Unicorns in Major League Cricket and has commentary commitments with Star Sports in ICC events as well as the Indian Premier League. He has previously worked for two seasons under Ricky Ponting as an assistant for Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

The PCB are understood to have been impressed by what he has brought to the Gladiators as well as the interpersonal relationships he has been able to strike. But the likelihood of the two parties reaching a deal will depend upon how much time the PCB requires the head coach to spend in Pakistan. When Mickey Arthur was pursued by the board last year, he was offered a flexible role that allowed him to juggle a coaching role with Derbyshire in the English county season alongside his position of Director of Cricket with Pakistan, with Grant Bradburn appointed the full-time head coach.

Earlier this week, newly appointed PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi said the board was in contact with “a few different options”, promising that no expense would be spared in procuring the best coaches for Pakistan.

To that end, Sammy is also believed to be in the reckoning, with his long-standing relationship with Pakistan cricket counting in his favour. Sammy is West Indies’ current limited-overs coach but is hugely popular within Pakistan since his days as captain of Peshawar Zalmi, most notably deciding to tour the country for the 2017 PSL final, with all overseas players from his side following him to the country when Quetta Gladiators’ overseas players opted to stay away. He is currently head coach of Peshawar Zalmi, who have also qualified for the playoffs this season.

Pakistan’s appointment of coaches has been complicated by the instability of the administrative side of the PCB. Former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf decided to remove Arthur and Bradburn after an indifferent World Cup, sending Hafeez to lead the tours to Australia and New Zealand instead despite having no coaching experience. Arthur and Bradburn were in turn only appointed during Ashraf’s predecessor Najam Sethi’s brief stint at the helm.

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