PAK vs NZ: Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis in line to replace Misbah-ul-Haq as coach for ODI series

PAK vs NZ: Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis in line to replace Misbah-ul-Haq as coach for ODI series

Misbah, who contracted Covid-19 recently during the teams’ tour of West Indies, is expected to touch down in Pakistan on September 5.

Pakistan’s head coach Misbah-ul-Haq. (Photo by Jason O’Brien/Getty Images)

Former Pakistan players Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis are in line to replace the incumbent head coach Misbah-ul-Haq before the Pakistan team faces New Zealand for three ODIs and five T20Is at home in a series starting September 17. Younis, the team’s bowling coach, is already a part of the Pakistan management, while former spinner Mushtaq is currently heading the Player Development cell at the National High-Performance Centre.

Misbah, who contracted Covid-19 recently during the teams’ tour of West Indies, is expected to touch down in Pakistan on September 5 (Sunday). With the ongoing quarantine protocols and Covid-19 norms, it seems unlikely that Misbah would be allowed to join the team bubble for the New Zealand series.

Cricket Pakistan, on September 4, reported, that whether Misbah would be able to take over the role is currently being discussed, whereas he is expected to meet the PCB officials upon his arrival to take a final decision about his presence in the team bubble for the home series.

The PCB has recently announced a 20-member squad for the series, with all fixtures to be played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on September 17, 19 and 21. The ODIs will be followed by five T20Is, all scheduled in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. The series would also witness crowds back inside the stadium as the PCB has obtained NCOC’s approval.

Pakistan recently drew a five-match away T20I series against West Indies 1-1, as three fixtures were washed out, while they also ended the following two-Test series levelled at 1-1. The team last played 50-overs cricket against England in an away series, where they suffered a 0-3 clean-sweep againstEngland away.

Pakistan’s rivals New Zealand, meanwhile, are currently playing a five-match T20I series against Bangladesh away, and are lagging 0-2. Incidentally, the upcoming tour of Pakistan would be New Zealand’s first in 18 years in the Asian nation.

Pakistan Squad for New Zealand ODIs

Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Saud Shakeel, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Haris, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Rauf, Hasnain Ali, Shahbawaz Dahani