Geoff Lawson: Tough road ahead!

Published: Monday, July 23, 2007, 22:19 [IST]
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At last Pakistan's search for the all important coaching assignment came to an end with the decision going in the favor of tough-nut-to-crack kind of Aussie character, Geoff Lawson.

Lawson is known more for his expertise as an analyst and commentator on the game after his not so successful stint as a coach of Australian provincial side New South Wales during late Ninties, despite the fact that NSW had a star studded line-up with the names like Waugh twins, Mark Taylor, Glenn McGrath, Michael Slater and Michael Bevan in the side, his results were less than satisfactory.

He was not too different from usual Aussie cricketers who like to gear their game one-dimensional, attack, attack and more attack. There is no roam for any grey spots in their world of blacks and whites. 180 scalps in 46 Test matches can provide you ample evidence of his aggression and attitude.

But in Pakistan, hiring of another foreign coach is not seen with much appreciation definitely not from where veteran cricketers are seeing it. Most of them think that the man with lot more experience of coaching could have served and cured Pakistans maladies in a better way. And for that most of them were proposing the name of authority on Asian coaching Dav Whatmore. But reliable sources continually reported that Pakistani players were pushing PCB hard for former-Test pacer Lawson over hardcore Aussie Whatmore. Pakistani players were not too approved of Davs sterner ways. So eventually Pakistani players got what they wanted and which should have pleased them immensely.

Now what are the challenges Lawson would face when he takes over the Pak reigns? One of the fastest bowlers of his era Lawson can be quite lucrative for young and potent Pakistani attack but is bowling need to be on top of the list of any Pakistani coach? If you ask for honest opinion, then answer should be definitely not.

It is Pakistani batting that needs to get its act right, especially on foreign, seamer- friendly tracks where they find it tough to cope with pace, swing and bounce. Debacle at the hands of non-entity Ireland in 2007 World Cup is the case study if anybody wants to probe Pakistans Achilles heel. Another area which needs to be mentioned is fielding of Pakistani outfit which is probably the worst in the region. PCB has called for special coach for the job to bring swift improvement in the fielding and fitness standards of the unit.

One thing which can be said about volatile Pakistan cricket ambiance with any degree of confidence is that it will not be smooth sailing for 49-year-old Aussie because coaching Pakistan cricket team is not only the matter of possessing certain qualities which usually coaches possess to put things right for certain teams. Lawson has to learn fairly quickly the culture of Pakistan cricket, and how politics in the alleys of PCB work to topple things up for someone, and man-management is a big test for certain big names which are not only famous for bringing their own downfall but also arrange so for the others consistently. Let us hope and wish the newly appointed coach gets into the thick of things sooner than later.


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