The search for the next Pakistani coach is like some sick reality television contest, but only in reverse: the fun only begins once the winner is actually crowned. Only then do you get to see the full range of machinations and conspiracies that are a specialty of South Asian cricket. Your administrators will stab you behind the back; your players may physically attack you; your heart may give out in a Caribbean hotel…But tune in next week!
Cricinfo reports the candidates to succeed Waqar Younis is nearly over; people think Dav Whatmore is the leading contender. As sorry jobs go, Whatmore knows how to do them well, as shown in stints to coach Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and, er, the Kolkata Knight Riders. His name did come up to succeed Greg Chappell in India, but — if I remember the rumors right — some Bangladeshi players warned their Indian colleagues that Whatmore can be a hard driver, never a wise decision when handling egos in this region.
So, what advice would you have for ol’ Whatmore? I think coaches make the mistake of thinking Pakistan can be a great cricket team. They have the right idea, given the quality of talent on display, but it’s not a realistic goal, given sheer craziness of the regime. Stay in the backroom, talk to the players, help them out with their techniques and be a calming presence. If it is so divined, then, the right Pakistani squad will emerge, hopefully at the right moments. When you’re dealing with a team that saw two of its best bowlers (ever?) and a former captain sent to prison, you have to start at a relatively low bar, sort of like those cheesy trust games that corporate retreats force on employees. There’s nothing more you can do, I imagine — the waste of potential is forever maddening, but forcing the issue may not work.
Your weekly assignment: What should the next Pakistani coach do, and who was the most successful Pakistani coach?