PCB looking to replace Lawson after Asia Cup

Lahore, Jun 14 (UNI) It seems the crushing defeat in the opening match of the triangular series at the hands of India is hard to digest for the PCB and the axe is likely to fall on Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson who is unlikely to continue his stint after the Asia Cup if his team fails to win the title.

According to a source, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is unhappy with the former Australian pacer's performance who replaced late Bob Woolmer as the team coach.

The board officials are demanding an improved performance from the coach and the national team in the tri-series final in Bangladesh which will be followed by the Asia Cup in Pakistan from June 24 to July 6.

However, the tri-series' outcome will not have any impact on Lawson's future with Pakistan team but he would surely not have any supporter if his boys fail to fire in the final against India today.

''The triangular tournament in Dhaka is not a major event and secondly it's so close to the Asia Cup,'' a PCB source told 'The News'. ''That is a major reason why the Board is willing to give Lawson a few more weeks to prove his worth.'' Though PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf has publicly thrown his weight behind Lawson and has said the coach will complete his two-year term, the opposition for the Aussie is growing as most of the Governing Board members are pushing for the coach's ouster.

Another major worry for Lawson is the reports of rift within the team while several of the team's senior players are ganging up against him.

Senior players like Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi are unhappy with their captain Shoaib Malik and are pushing for a change in their leadership.

There is a possibility that if Lawson is given the axe then Malik might also be sacked as Pakistan captain.

However, the official stated that not only captain and coach, but the entire team's performance will be monitored in the big game against India.

''We've been keenly monitoring the performance our players in the Dhaka tri-series,'' said the official.

''One of our selectors is with the team for a first-hand experience of how the boys are faring there,'' he added.

The official said the Pakistan line-up for the Asia Cup will mainly be decided on the basis of the players' performance in Dhaka.

''No player should take his place in the Pakistan team for granted,'' said the official. ''Only good form and fitness will guarantee a place in the Asia Cup squad.'' The official made it clear that the nonperforming seniors will be repced by some promising youngsters who were exposed during the Bangladesh and Zimbabwe series at home earlier this year.

''We would rather have promising junior players in the team than underperforming seniors,'' added the official who requested anonymity.


Story first published: Saturday, June 14, 2008, 11:32 [IST]
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