Former Pakistan fast bowler and two-time head coach of the Pakistan team, Waqar Younis, has been appointed team director and bowling coach by Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United. The director’s role was previously held by Wasim Akram. Waqar and Akram had earlier been touted for a reunion on the Multan Sultans coaching staff, but it hadn’t materialised.
The announcement was made by Islamabad United team owner Ali Naqvi, and captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Misbah said, “For any captain who is a batsman it is advantageous to have a coach who is a great bowler, someone he can trust and who commands respect both with the local players and the foreign players. Having worked with Waqar bhai before, I think his appointment is a great one for Islamabad United, and one that will benefit our bowlers and our dressing room greatly.”
Waqar, also present at the press conference, echoed Misbah’s thoughts.
“Misbah and I relied on and helped each other out in the lowest of times for Pakistan cricket. Having been through the experience we had from 2010 to 2012 is something that will always be with me, so it feels great to be reunited with someone I have worked with so much over the past seven years. When I used to see PSL from the outside, Islamabad United seemed like a family to me and I am thrilled to be a part of it. We all want the PSL to come back to Pakistan and we are on the right track.”
Waqar had two stints as head coach of Pakistan, which followed two stints as bowling coach after his international retirement. This will be his first foray as a coach in the PSL, but he has experience in franchise cricket from his time as bowling coach of the Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League in 2013. The Sunrisers had finished with the best economy rate that year.
Naqvi said there were “no issues” between Akram and the franchise: ‘Wasim Akram was a great teacher for our bowlers. There were no issues with him. We are thankful for his services. Wasim worked with Rumman Raees and taught him swing. Now we have Waqar Younis who will teach him toe-crushers.”
“I think in Waqar we have found the ideal man for this role. Not only does he have years of coaching experience with the national team – both as a bowling coach and a head coach – but a lot of his success has been with many of our current players, especially Misbah. Furthermore, as a team that believes in numbers, the fact that along with his great numbers with the national team, in his lone IPL season, with the Hyderabad team, his team finished with the best bowling numbers in the tournament provided enough evidence for us to go after him.”
Islamabad United started the last edition of the PSL as defending champions, but were eliminated in the second qualifying play-off by the Karachi Kings.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo