The 47-year-old, from New South Wales, has never coached an international cricket side before, but he has been at the helm of things with the New South Wales Cricket team. In international coaching circles, he is an unknown commodity, but one can only look at past achievements and if the boys who have been coached under him are anything to go by, then he must have that something special. Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor are two Test captains that have tasted the 'Lawson way' and put into practice some of his ideals. Need one say more.
Geoff Lawson came through a list of three candidates and the popular belief is that it was his pace bowling connection that did the trick. In a land that thrives on raw pace, having a coach who could instantly relate with this genre would always be welcome. The appointment came as a surprise, as a lot of people felt that the other Australian Dav Whatmore would have been the ideal choice given his Asian connections. And with communication being paramount, he fitted the bill. But, interestingly former captain of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga was quick to convey to the Pakistani Cricket Board that Whatmore spelt bad news. Just why the ex-captain has this disliking for a coach who took Sri Lanka to new highs is an enigma. But thats another probe.
In the wake of the sudden and mysterious demise of the former coach of Pakistan, Bob Woolmer, the man who would take over from there, would have to be one who could start afresh and not carry any baggage with him. The Australians are known for their dogged approach to life, and accepting challenges is like 'manna from heaven' for them. Lawson is of the opinion that there is tremendous talent in the team and the test would be to let that talent translate into wins for the country.
The 'Pace Effect' of the Pakistani team is renowned, but when Lawson, saw Shoaib Akhtar bowl at 150 kmph in a practice game, his belief in the legendary 'pace effect' of the nation, got cemented. A coach with a pace bowling background is a rarity and Lawson knows that his work is totally cut out. Having worked with the impressive Glenn McGrath, young Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark, the prospect of dealing with the Akhtars, Guls and Samis and other raw pacy talents is a mouthwatering one.
An established commentator and media man, Geoff Lawson has been to Pakistan and is not alien to the way things operate. Travel is a super educator and he has traveled a fair amount, given his media assignments. Not only that, one learns how to manage resources and maximize benefits of the situation one is in. A large number of ex-cricketers in Pakistan were not happy with Geoff Lawsons appointment, with Javed Miandad, leading the opposition. But by asking Mr Miandad to help him go about his work, Lawson has silenced one of the more controversial elements in the system. A fine stroke of diplomacy here, now wouldn't you agree?
Not only has he won over the support of the controversial Javed Miandad, but the other live wire, and pace sensation Shoaib Akhtar has expressed his delight in having Geoff Lawson as coach. He stated that the Australian way of thinking, where it was always a back to the basics' approach, would suit the team. The young captain of the Pakistan team Shoaib Malik also expressed his contentment on the appointment and has started taking lessons in English. Many of the boys are said to follow suit, so the issue of non-communication, should be reduced. Lawson was quick to express that the hiring of Urdu translators would happen if need be.
It will not be a bed of roses, and no one is fooling anyone. The Pakistani cricket team is one of the world's most volatile, but with guidance they can be transformed into champions.
Just how Geoff Lawson deals with all the pressures from various areas will be in itself a super study into the psyche of the man. For now, he will pack his bags and make his way to his new home in two weeks time along with his support staff. As for cricket in Pakistan, things can only get better. They say in life that after every sunset there is sunrise, and this could be a new beginning. Inshallah!