Bradburn named Pakistan head coach in unusual setting

Bradburn named Pakistan head coach in unusual setting

KARACHI: Grant Bradburn was named Pakistan head coach in an extremely inconspicuous announcement by the country’s cricket board on Friday, while former gaffer Mickey Arthur’s return remained a mystery.

Arthur was all but set to assume duties as the national side’s “consultant team director” according to reports that emerged within the last few weeks, and the pursuit of his appointment is something the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) interim Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi has been vocal about.

However, Arthur’s name was nowhere to be seen in the PCB’s press release that included a list of the player support personnel for Pakistan’s upcoming five-match T20 and One-day International series against New Zealand.

The statement, however, said the PCB “will confirm the Pakistan team management for post-New Zealand series following the completion of the relevant recruitment processes, which are presently ongoing”.

Dawn understands the delay in Arthur’s appointment is down to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority’s (PPRA) rules that require government and semi-government organisations to advertise vacancies that offer compensations of Rs100,000 or more.

The PCB advertised the vacancies for Pakistan’s team director, head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach and strength and conditioning coach as late as in the last week of March with April 17 set as the deadline.

The advertisement went out only after Arthur confirmed his interest to take up the team director role and proposed names of support staff that he wanted to work with. Those names included that of Bradburn, Andrew Puttick for the batting coach position and former South African pacer Morne Morkel for the bowling coach post.

According to a source close to the PCB, either of the appointments can’t be made before the April 17 deadline “to ensure all interested candidates are given equal playing field”.

Bradburn, Puttick and Drikus Saaimon — Arthur’s choice for the strength and conditioning coach position — however, will enjoy a massive edge over their competitors for the roles with the trio being included in Pakistan’s player support personnel for the New Zealand series.

According to the source, Bradburn and Puttick, being Arthur’s choices, have been given “an opportunity to come to Pakistan” to understand the environment, talk to the players and “complete the process”. The duo joins the Pakistan squad — which gathered at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday for the side’s preparatory camp for the New Zealand games — on April 11.

The formal procedure is highly unlikely to cause any inconvenience in the implementation of Arthur’s plans for the Pakistan unit, which will have Abdul Rehman, who served as the side’s head coach in the recent T20 series against Afghanistan, as the assistant coach for the New Zealand series. Former Pakistan pacer Umar Gul will continue his duties as the bowling coach.

The squad was also joined by newly appointed team manager Rehan-ul-Haq and analyst Hassan Cheema. The duo, who have worked for HBL Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United since the league’s inception in 2016, are known for believing in modern cricketing strategies and have a data-driven approach.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2023


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