PCB gave free hands to head coaches to turn the fortunes of the team

ISLAMABAD — In the wake of Pakistan’s dismal showing in the T20 World Cup, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Mohsin Naqvi on Tuesday gave head coaches Gary Kirsten and Jason Gillespie a free hand to turn the fortunes of the team, according to sources.

Pakistan lost to newcomers USA and arch-rivals India in the Group stages of the World Cup to be eliminated from the competition held in the USA and the Caribbean.

Naqvi met the white-ball and red-ball coaches, where Kirsten and Gillespie shared their plans for the national team.

According to the PCB, Naqvi told both the coaches that he had full confidence in them and they would get full backing from the cricket board.

“Kirsten was blunt in laying down his concerns about the white-ball team based on the World Cup,” said a PCB source.

Both the head coaches told the PCB chairman that they wanted to set clear guidelines about the fitness levels required to be considered for Pakistan team selection.

“Naqvi told them they should do whatever is necessary to change the fortunes of the team and no one would ask them to make any compromises on selection or the fitness of players,” the source added.

Kirsten had warned senior pros in the side following the team’s loss to the USA and India to adapt to new skill-sets and improve their game awareness, or get left behind. Senior team manager, Wahab Riaz, in his report submitted to Naqvi, had outlined personality clashes in the side during the World Cup.

“The PCB chief said both the coaches had a free hand to take whatever decisions they wanted to improve the performances of the team in red-ball and white-ball formats.” Assistant coach Azhar Mahmood was also present during the meeting.

The source added that Kirsten, while discussing his experience with the Pakistan team during the World Cup, told Naqvi that there was a need to rebuild combinations in the white-ball format and also change the mindset of players.

Kirsten and Gillespie had agreed to become white-ball and red-ball coaches respectively a few months before the World Cup after Naqvi approached them and offered them long-term contracts with the assurance that they would be given proper opportunities to implement their plans.

Kirsten has also worked with the Indian team and comes to Pakistan with a big reputation.