Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf has said that a new bowling coach for the national team would be announced within this week.

"We will take a final decision in a day or two about the new bowling coach," Ashraf told reporters in Lahore yesterday.

Pakistan has been hunting for a new bowling coach since former Test pacer Aaqib Javed resigned and joined the UAE team as head coach earlier this year in February.

The board formed a committee headed by former Test captain Intikhab Alam to invite applications from interested candidates and shortlist names and recommend them to the board.

A reliable source in the board said that so far two candidates had been shortlisted -- former Test pacer Mohammad Akram and Englishman Ian Pont, who has remained bowling coach with the Bangladesh team.

Pont a former county cricketer has also written a book on fast bowling and is the only modern-day professional cricketer to have played a professional baseball game when he appeared for Philadelphia Phillies in an exhibition match in 1987.

Ashraf, however, refused to give any details about the shortlist of candidates.

"We have to take into consideration the monetary issues as well as how suitable the candidate is to work with Pakistan cricket while taking a final decision," Ashraf said.

He said whoever is appointed as bowling coach of the national team would also have to spare a lot of time for the national cricket academy.

"He will be given a multitasking role and not just be restricted to the national team," Ashraf said.

Pakistan's enigmatic fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar had also offered his services to become the national bowling coach but officials in the board turned down his offer pointing out that he (Shoaib) didn't fulfill the criteria set for appointing a new bowling coach.

"Shoaib neither has experience of coaching at international level nor has he passed the level three coaching course," one official had said.

Ashraf said the board was slowly moving towards professionalising the management set up and support staff with the Pakistan team as well at the national academy.

"We will take a decision on merit and see who can be best suited and helpful for our cricket," he said.

The Maldives coach, Bazeegh Zaka and former Pakistan players Jalal-ud-Din, Mohsin Kamal and Sabih Azhar had also applied for the bowling coach position.

Former Pakistan Test spinners, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq have also expressed their desire to take up the job but have complained that the board didn't respond properly to their offers.

Ahmed is currently working as a spin bowling consultant with the England and Wales cricket board, while Mushtaq is settled in England.


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