It’s been 18 months since Geoff Lawson was sacked as Pakistan coach. But even now, the Aussie feels deeply for the players, who were punished by their Board after a humiliating series in Australia earlier this year.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, in March, banned Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan indefinitely, suspended Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan for a year and slapped heavy fines on Kamran and Umar Akmal.
Lawson, who was in charge of the team from July 2007 to October 2008, is livid at the PCB’s decision. “It’s ridiculous. How can players come up with their best if the Board decides to sack some for losing a match or series? You cannot operate in any organisation like that. I despair any organisation that treats its players like that,” Lawson, who is in Pune to coach the Torna Tigers, a franchise in the Maharashtra Premier League, told HT.
“I know these guys, they are good friends. When you have idiots taking cricketing decisions without knowing anything about the game, there’s nothing more to read into it. Instead of striving to make you better, they go the other way. They must have forgotten that the players had won the last T20 World Cup and were doing pretty well in one-dayers and had hardly played Test cricket. Yet, they were sacked.”
Even though he is in charge of a bunch of boys, most of whom are not even first-class cricketers, Lawson finds parallels between the Torna Tigers and his Pakistan wards.
“They love a laugh and their attitude is fantastic. If the attitude weren’t good, it would have become difficult to get on with it. They’re quite like the Pakistan players,” the former Australia fast bowler said.
“Sometimes, we tend to think too much about winning and losing and umpiring decisions. Cricket is a ridiculous game. We do it because we love it. I am here to make them better human beings. It’s not that hard to make a better cricketer but it’s hard to make someone a better human being.”
Even though he feels T20 is here to stay, Lawson says it won’t undermine the importance of Test cricket.
“In the late 1970s, when I first played for Australia, they were playing with coloured clothing, white balls, night games.
“They all thought Test cricket would be finished in three years.
“Thirty years later, Test cricket is doing pretty well,” said Lawson.