'PCB was not under any pressure'
The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday denied that it was under any pressure from the players while choosing Australian Jeff Lawson over Dav Whatmore, who was considered frontrunner for the job, as coach of the national team.
PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf also had a tough time trying to explain as to how Lawson had himself broke the news of his appointment even before the PCB Ad-Hoc committee which was supposed to finalise the coach, had started its meeting.
"We had to take input from the players. But it is wrong to say we succumbed to their pressure."
"The board itself considered everything before taking a decision. Lawson impressed all of us with his presentation and in his interview and he is young and with a couple of good ideas on how to take our cricket forward," Ashraf told reporters in Karachi.
Ashraf said that the board had individually spoken to each Ad-Hoc committee member in the last week and discussed the merits and demerits of all three coaching candidates.
"Today's meeting was primarily to finalise his package and also which players should get the central contracts. But a decision in principle was taken before the meeting by the members on Lawson," he said.
He said it was wrong to say the meeting was a farce and he was unilaterally running cricket affairs being the direct nominee of the Board's chief patron, President Pervez Musharraf.
Ashraf also rejected the impression that Whatmore lost out after former Sri Lankan skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga met with the Pakistan manager, Talat Ali recently in Scotland and did not speak highly of the Australian.
"Ranatunga's chance meeting with Talat was a private one and it had no bearing on our selection."
He said the members had considered all three candidates and gone for Lawson because of the feedback it got about him from various quarters.
Ashraf also defended listening to the players who supported Lawson over Whatmore, who has the experience of coaching sub-continental team and also led Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup title.
He said Lawson would be paid near the same amount that was being given to former coach, Bob Woolmer which is said to be around USD 220,000 annually.