Pakistan coach already had intention to leave as his contract will not be renewed in February but Pakistan could go to No 1 in T20 rankings before he leaves, writes Paul Radley.

Pakistan's batsman Sohaib Maqsood, left, gets advice from head coach Dav Whatmore during his team's net practice at the UAE's Sharjah cricket stadium on Sunday. Asif Hassan / AFP
Powered by automated translation

DUBAI // The Pakistan coaching merry-go-round will stop for Dav Whatmore to get off at the end of February after it was confirmed Tuesday his contract will not be extended.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had been under pressure to act following a poor run of results, which culminated in their 4-1 series defeat in the one-day international series against South Africa here.

Both Whatmore and Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s captain in Test and 50-over cricket, have suffered criticism because of the team’s form slump.

However, the board said yesterday that Whatmore had signalled his intention to leave the role next year, anyway.

“Whatmore had informed the PCB that he would not be seeking a renewal of his contract due to his personal and family reasons,” the board said in a statement yesterday.

“Under the circumstances, the PCB and Whatmore have mutually agreed to conclude the contract on February 28, 2014.”

Whatmore’s potential successor might already be in the UAE, too. Moin Khan, who has been the team manager for this series against South Africa, has been mooted as a possible replacement.

Waqar Younis, who was in charge the last time Pakistan played South Africa here, three years ago, and is here as part of the TenCricket commentary team, has also been talked of as returning.

From the evidence of his demeanour at yesterday’s training session, Whatmore will complete the remainder of his duties over the next three months through gritted teeth.

Despite their miserable form in 50-over cricket here, Pakistan’s players will get the chance to start afresh this evening when they face the Proteas in the first of two Twenty20 internationals at Dubai Sports City.

Remarkably, given the gloom which currently seems to surround Pakistan, they could go to No 1 in the T20 rankings with success here.

Mohammed Hafeez, their captain in this format, says the players need to take greater responsibility for the team if they are to beat the South Africans.

“All the players feel they have to take more responsibility as a team member,” Hafeez said.

“It is not about seniors or juniors, it is about every single member of the team. We all have to play a part wherever it is required.

“We all realise the mistakes we have made in the ODI series. We have two seniors coming back into the T20 team, Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq, and that will help the team gel. I personally feel this team will give a better account.”

Hafeez believes his Pakistan side are most comfortable in the shortest format of the game, when they can play “fearless” cricket.

“The one-day game has changed a lot in recent years but T20 is just as it started,” he said.

“We know as a team the plans we can execute in T20. We are looking forward to these two matches, we know this format well, we can play fearless cricket and express ourselves.”

Faf du Plessis, who takes South Africa’s captaincy reins in the 20-over matches, said Pakistan should not be discounted despite their apparent malaise.

“Pakistan are very dangerous,” Du Plessis said. “They have a lot of matchwinners and that is what Twenty20 cricket is all about.

“If one guys gets 70 or 80, or their bowling attack gets four wickets quickly, it can make the difference and they have those dangermen in their side.

“I think the weakness their batting line-up showed in the one-day matches is not as crucial because in Twenty20 cricket there is a shorter period of time.

“They are a dangerous team and we are going to have to play really well to beat them.”