ISLAMABAD // The former Pakistan Test cricketer Mohsin Khan thinks Geoff Lawson will be under pressure to produce good results even after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided not to renew his contract as coach. Ijaz Butt, the newly appointed chairman of the PCB, made it clear that Lawson's two-year contract will not be renewed after it expires next April. Pakistan are scheduled to play three limited-overs internationals against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi next month before the scheduled three Test matches and five one-day internationals at home against India early next year.
"India is not the team which it used to be 10-12 years ago, now it's among the top teams of the world so it will be a big pressure series for Lawson," Khan said. "He is the best judge for himself and maybe he takes the series against India as a challenge." Another former captain, Aamir Sohail, thought Lawson should accept it as a challenge after two losing Test series since the former Australian fast bowler replaced the late Bob Woolmer as the Pakistan coach.
"If he is a thorough professional, he should take it as a challenge and prove others wrong," Sohail said. "I don't think Lawson would be less motivated in the important series against India and he should accept Mr Butt's decision as a challenge for him." The former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf appointed Lawson for a two-year term in July last year and also named Shoaib Malik as captain until December 2008. "It was a daring decision of the PCB to pair Malik with Lawson," Sohail added. "There was no planning, no goals. Malik was a novice as captain and the PCB should have appointed a coach who was seasoned enough to know about our cricketing culture.
"Lawson himself was coming on his first major coaching assignment in Pakistan and I think it was a wrong pairing." Under Lawson's stewardship Pakistan have lost Test series at home against South Africa and in India last year. Pakistan also failed to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup at home in July. Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning coach and also a former captain, said that Lawson should leave his role. "I think it's better he should quit himself," Alam advised Lawson.
Butt decided not to terminate Lawson's contract immediately, claiming the pay out would cause huge financial losses for the Pakistani board. Pakistan's highest scorer in Test matches and the former captain Javed Miandad said the cricket board should look for home-grown coaches instead of hiring foreigners. "I am against this concept of hiring foreigners for coaching the Pakistan team," said Miandad, who has coached the Pakistan team three times over the last 12 years.
"But if the PCB had decided to bring in a foreign coach. I think Dav Whatmore was a better choice." Whatmore, the former Australian batsman had coached Sri Lanka to a World Cup triumph in 1996 in Pakistan. He was also shortlisted by the PCB before they selected the under-fire Lawson.