Asians prefer ~~techno savvy~~ foreign coaches

Published: Monday, June 21, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Changing techniques on the cricket field have forced South Asian countries to seek help in foreign coaches, cricket officials in Karachi said.

Javed Miandad was the local victim of the cliche that "no brown man can coach" when Pakistan hired Briton Bob Woolmer last week to round out South Asia's totally foreign coaching roster.

"All the countries going for foreign coaches have shown results and have progressed forward which prompted us to follow suit," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Ramiz Raja.

Woolmer, a former England batsman who coached South Africa, will join Pakistan next month as they embark upon their defense of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from July 16.

Pakistan's first foreign coach Richard Pybus, another Englishman based in South Africa, had three coaching tenures from 1999 to 2003 -- all ending in acrimony.

But Raja is adamant Woolmer would be different.

"Pybus was a good individual but he didn't have that international clout of Woolmer. So I think this time it would be different. Woolmer will have the power and we want to give him incentives with each step forward and take us to the 2007 World Cup," Raja said.

But former greats Zaheer Abbas and Sarfraz Nawaz criticised Woolmer's hiring.

"It is only the fascination of some individuals to rub shoulders with strategically placed foreigners that appears to have led to Woolmer's decision," Abbas wrote in a column.

Nawaz said former Pakistanis should have been given a chance.

Sri Lanka, who started the trend by roping in Dav Whatmore of Australia in 1995, now has another Australian, John Dyson, as their current coach.

India's coach John Wright is a former New Zealand opener whose hiring in 2000 was ciriticised, but his efforts have transformed India as the second best team behind Australia.

While Wright produced results, local icons like Kapil Dev could not. Miandad failed to last through all three of his coaching tenures in Pakistan.

Bangladesh, still searching for their first win at Test level, now has Whatmore holding the reins and on their recent tour of the West Indies showed signs of resurgence.

"I don't agree that the brown man can't coach but foreigners like Woolmer, Wright and Whatmore have a more professional view and these people are the best in the business," Raja said.

"It's not a matter of snubbing our own man but its a matter of hiring the best and that's what India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have done."

Miandad's two-year contract, which ran until April 2005, was terminated following Pakistan's stunning home series defeat against India in April.

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