By Tim Holt
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones has thrown the hat in the ring for the post of Pakistan’s cricket coach – one of the five men shortlisted for the job, along with former England all-rounder Dermot Reeve and Aaqib Javed.
Jones has courted controversy all through his cricketing career; diplomacy has not been his forte. And it does give one the jitters that such a man should be in the running to coach a team that has been embroiled in chaos and controversies.
Having said that, Pakistan has seen relative calm and stability, besides success, in the past year under Waqar Younis. It’s important that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) opts for a coach who will continue that legacy left by Waqar and consolidate on their recent gains. And that means appointing a coach with similar temperament and coaching methodologies.
Someone like Mudassar Nazar or Aaqib Javib are closer to Waqar in demeanor, besides having a deeper and meaningful knowledge of the players and Pakistani culture. Pakistan cricketers can be volatile and the key is as much in handling the players as much as their playing skills.
Mudassar has been known not to take any nonsense from any player in his role of Chief of the Youth Academy, where he famously threw out Umar Akmal for not living up to his expectations. It’s much easier for a local to clamp that kind of discipline than an outsider like Dean Jones. In Jones, you would have a man that would in essence invite the termites back in the house.
For example, he told The Age newspaper that there was no shortage of talent in Pakistan and if successful in getting the job of the coach, he would try to and get back Shahid Afridi out of retirement after the flamboyant former captain quit over differences with Waqar.
Comments like the one above indicate his ignorance of Pakistan cricket and what has contributed to the smooth functioning of the team.
Jones is also known for shooting his mouth off before thinking and landing in a mess. And there is no better example than him dubbing South African Hashim Amla a “terrorist” in the commentary box. Though it was said in a lighter vein, the comments did not go down well - with the Muslim community in particular. Certainly, that insensitive remark would not be forgotten by the fundamentalists in Pakistan.
Clearly, Jones is not the man Pakistan should be looking at to replace Waqar Younis. They cannot afford to fritter away the good done by the outgoing coach.
(Tim Holt was born in Northern Ireland in 1952. He found his love for cricket when he was sent to South Africa between 1964 and 1966. He is an unashamed cricket purist who feasts on Test cricket. His passion for the game cuts across geographical boundaries and into the domestic competitions. Tim, who has a background in journalism and teaching, has lived and worked in many places across the world)