Australian Geoff Lawson arrived here Monday to take over as Pakistan coach, a job which will require him to dig deep to restore the credibility of a team seen as under-achievers.
"I look forward to meeting the squad soon," Lawson said on arrival, brushing aside news that four Pakistani players -- Inzamam-ul Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Yousuf and Imran Farhat -- had joined a breakaway Indian league.
"Whatever happens, the players who turn up will count for me and not the ones who go and do something else," said Lawson, who will hold a press conference Tuesday after joining a Pakistan team training session.
Pakistan have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons since pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif tested positive for a banned drug last year.
The team's cricketing pride was then badly battered by their shock first-round exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean in March.
Worse followed when Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room in Jamaica just a day after the team's upset defeat at the hands of Cup debutants Ireland.
But Lawson, who took 180 wickets in 46 Tests, is confident he is the right man for the job, despite the criticism of some former Pakistani cricketers who have described him as "too raw and too new" to coaching.
"I am hoping to talk to those people and see what contributions they can make," Lawson said last month.
"Pakistan can be number one, they have the talent and the skills to match the best in the world."
Lawson's first assignment with Pakistan is the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa next month.
Coaching Pakistan has never been easy -- it involves meeting the enormous expectation of fanatical supporters, coping with an unyielding media spotlight and working out how to translate the team's potential into performance.
Lawson's predecessors have often found to their dismay that they need more than coaching manuals to get the best out of a team apt to pull in different directions.
That Pakistan have had 11 coaches in the past decade only underlines that many of them have found it difficult to keep their reputation intact in this pressure-cooker situation.
Woolmer's death was a massive blow to the reputation of Pakistani cricket, which had already faced match-fixing accusations and drug bans.
The hunt then began not only for a new coach but also a new captain, after Inzamam-ul-Haq quit one-day cricket immediately following the World Cup.
Cricket chiefs wisely began from scratch, appointing young Shoaib Malik as the new captain at the expense of senior cricketers and then naming Lawson as the coach ahead of favourite Dav Whatmore.
Pakistan are seen as a talented but unpredictable side -- something Lawson believes can be an advantage.
"Unpredictability can be an advantage as much as a drawback," he said in earlier published comments. "We will use the characteristic to take teams by surprise."
Woolmer tried to transform Pakistan into a consistent and competitive unit during his three-year tenure but had only partial success, the highlight being winning a home series against England, India and the West Indies.
Lawson's man-management skills will be tested when he deals with Akhtar, a mercurial paceman known as much for his mood-swings as his bowling.
"Akhtar is a vital cog to them (Pakistan) being top of the tree," Lawson said.
Still, former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has lent his support, saying last month that he believes Lawson could help the fast bowlers progress and bring "Australian aggression" into the team.