Lahore, Sep 28 : The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to retain former allrounder Azhar Mahmood as bowling coach of the national team to ensure the presence of a Pakistani on the support staff. A PCB official confirmed today that an agreement with Azhar, who resides in the UK, was almost finalised. “We had initially looked at some other foreign candidates for the bowling coach’s position. But then we realised there was no Pakistani on the support staff and we felt it was necessary to have a Pakistani to ensure proper communication with the players,” he said.

Azhar was also the bowling coach of the national squad in the Asia Cup and World T20 earlier this year, followed by the limited-over series in England. But his contract ended after the national team returned home. Azhar, who played 21 Tests and 141 ODIs for Pakistan, came under fire after Pakistani bowlers were thrashed by England in the first four ODIs of the five-match series to lose 1-4, including a world record score of 444 in the third match. Also Read: PCB to appoint Mushtaq Ahmed, Azhar Mahmood as assistant coach for England tour

The official said that Azhar, in all probability, would join the team in the UAE for Pakistan’s ‘home’ series against the West Indies. The PCB has already hired former Australian Test player Steve Rixon as the fielding coach and another Aussie, Shane Hayes as physiotherapist on the recommendation of head coach Mickey Arthur. Former Zimbabwean Test player Grant Flower has been the batting coach since the last two years, while the trainer is also a foreigner.