Pakistan's next full-time coach is "99%" certain to be a local man, according to PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, though a tweaked coaching set-up may also look at incorporating inputs from foreign coaches as and when required. Waqar Younis, Butt said, is among the men the board is looking at.
"The full-time coach of the Pakistan side will be 99% a Pakistani," Butt told Cricinfo. "We have two-three people in mind and Waqar is one of those that we have met and are looking at. A decision will be taken in the next couple of days on this."
Butt's comments seem to all but shut the door on speculation over the last few weeks on a foreign coach being appointed to the national side, increasing the likelihood that Waqar may land the role. The board did approach Greg Chappell, though he turned down the offer. Mickey Arthur's name has also come up, though he has yet to be approached and it is believed would be keener on a short-term role.
The post is not a particularly attractive one for foreign candidates, given the relative insecurity of any administration that makes the appointment. The security situation in the country will also be a factor, though neither of Pakistan's last two foreign coaches - Bob Woolmer or Geoff Lawson - had any problems staying in the country's cricket headquarters in Lahore.
But the peculiar nature of Pakistan's future commitments now may lead to the board appointing foreign consultants as and when required. All of Pakistan's home commitments will be played abroad for the forseeable future, either in the UAE, or in specific arrangements with other countries: the 'home series' against New Zealand, for example, last year was played in New Zealand, while they will play a much-postponed 'home series' against Australia in England later this year.
For these commitments Pakistan may look to get inputs from consultants. "We may hire foreign coaches for consultants positions, or have specific positions, depending on what and where our commitments are and what our needs are," Butt said. "But our full-time coach is most likely to be a local." In the summer's Tests against Australia and England in England, for instance, Arthur may yet be brought on board to play a consulting role of some kind.
Pakistan's two foreign coaches in the last few years had a mixed time. Woolmer had some success with the side between 2004 and 2006, but by the time of his death during the World Cup a year later, the experiment had soured. Soon after Woolmer's demise, the board said they would hire a local coach, only to U-turn and plump for Geoff Lawson instead. He had a tougher time and though popular with the players, he was removed and replaced by Intikhab Alam, soon after the administrative change that saw Butt take over as chairman in 2008.