Abdul Rehman to be Pakistan’s head coach for Afghanistan T20Is; Umar Gul named bowling coach

Pakistan have named Abdul Rehman as interim head coach and Umar Gul as bowling coach for the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan. Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Majeed will continue as batting coach and fielding coach, respectively.

Rehman is a seasoned coach in the domestic set-up with more than a decade’s experience and is among renowned talent scouts in the northern part of the country. He has worked as head coach with several domestic teams, most recently with Southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and presently is with Multan Sultans as assistant coach in the PSL. He also worked with Pakistan Under-19 during Bangladesh’s tour of Multan in November last year.

Originally, Yousuf was announced as interim head coach only to change the next day when Najam Sethi, the PCB chairperson, tweeted a list of support staff contradicting the earlier announcement. The PCB clarified that the earlier statement was erroneous and Yousuf will continue as batting coach only.

Gul retired from all forms of cricket in 2020 after turning out in 47 Tests (163 wickets at 34.06), 130 ODIs (179 at 29.34) and 60 T20Is (85 at 16.97) between 2003 and 2016. He immediately got into coaching after his retirement, taking up the bowling coach’s role with Quetta Gladiators in the PSL last season. He had a brief stint with Afghanistan as well last year, as their bowling coach, before parting away after their board decided to go with a local coach and didn’t renew his contract after it ended in December.

Pakistan overseas recruitments Cliffe Deacon, the physiotherapist, and Drikus Saaiman, the strength and conditioning coach, have retained their contracts and will continue to work with the national team.

Since Saqlain Mushtaq’s contract ended, Pakistan haven’t appointed a full-time coaching staff. The PCB was keen to rope in their former coach Mickey Arthur but due to his full-time commitment with Derbyshire county as head coach, he wasn’t able to join. The PCB assigned Arthur a part-time consultancy role and he was supposed to help them find coaching staff but the board is yet to share any details about it.

In another development, Mansoor Rana, the Pakistan team manager, is back on a short-term contract. Rana’s employment with the PCB had ended last year after he reached 60 and took up the director’s role at Lahore Qalandars’ high performance centre.

For the Afghanistan series, Pakistan have rested many of their first-choice players, including Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Fakhar Zaman and Haris Rauf. Imad Wasim and Faheem Ashraf have been recalled, while Shadab Khan has been named captain, and star PSL 2023 performers Saim Ayub and Ihsanullah have all received call-ups to the national team for the first time.

Pakistan will be flying to Dubai on March 22 with the first T20I to be played on March 24, followed by two back-to-back games on March 26 and 27. This will the first instance of the two sides meeting in a bilateral series, and all games will be played in Sharjah.

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