Karachi:Pakistan Cricket Board might have been working on the possibility of promoting bowling and fielding coach Waqar Younis as the new chief mentor of the national side in place of Intikhab Alam, given his popularity among the present bunch of players.
A well informed source in the PCB said that the move to bring in former captain and pace legend Waqar for the tough tour of Australia on an attractive package is part of a bigger picture and long-term thinking is involved in the process.
"Normally, it makes no sense to bring in Waqar at this point of time for the Australian tour unless some long term thinking was not involved. Chief coach Intikhab Alam and assistant coach, Aaqib Javed are already working with the side," the source said.
"Apparently, the PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt is looking at Waqar as a long term candidate for the post of chief coach and the days of Intikhab Alam might be numbered as chief coach," the source added.
The source also said that Waqar is very popular among the present bunch of players who have lot of respect and regards for him. He had also helped the bowlers improved a lot during his previous tenure with the team as bowling coach in 2006 before he walked out and resigned owing to differences with the board and officials.
He also said that Waqar could end up drawing fatter perk and bonuses than Intikhab, if the team and bowlers does well during his coaching tenure.
Intikhab is presently drawing a salary of around five lakhs, while Waqar would get a retainer of three lakhs and other bonuses. "If the team and bowlers does well during his coaching period, he could end up earning more than the chief coach."
Meanwhile, on former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq playing an influential role in recent decision-making of the board, the source said, "the decision to not appoint Shahid Afridi as captain for the ODI series against Australia despite his recent good form and to make Muhammad Yousuf captain for both Tests and one-dayers, is a clear indication that something is cooking around in the mind of Ejaz Butt and behind the scenes."
He pointed out that the decision to name wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal as vice-captain to Yousuf indicates that the board might look at the possibility of making Akmal the next captain for Tests and ODIs for a longer term.
"There is no doubt that Ejaz Butt and the selectors were pretty disappointed when Younus Khan didn't make himself available for the Australian tour neither did he get in touch with them despite repeated attempts," the source disclosed.
He said all the indications are of the view that with Younus Khan's future as captain uncertain and with 2011 World Cup round the corner, the board might go for Akmal in the long-term as he remains one of the essential part of the team and one of the few senior players on the block.
The Pakistan team will travel straight from New Zealand to Australia for a series of three tests, five ODIs and a twenty20 international starting from December 26.
In an other development in New Zealand, Waqar has had a detailed discussion with captain Muhammad Yousuf regarding the preparation of the side for the upcoming tour of Australia.
In an interview in Napier, where he is commentating for the ongoing series against New Zealand, Waqar said he had conveyed his ideas and plans to Yousuf during their meeting.
"I personally feels that Pakistan need to play with five bowlers in Test matches and they need to have all-rounders like Abdul Razzaq or Azhar Mehmood in the team, batting at number six position," Waqar said.
Waqar pointed out that in Australia, it is necessary to have five proper bowlers and he had mentioned the names of Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood as the allrounders to Yousuf, who could be considered for selection.
Razzaq and Azhar have not played a single Test for Pakistan for the last three years.
The pace legend also pointed out that Pakistan's strength lies in its bowling with all the bowlers like Muhammad Asif, Umar Gul, Muhammad Aamer and Danish Kaneria were doing well.
"They are doing well and they just require some fine tuning to adjust to Australian conditions, which would going to be different from other cricket playing nations. One could be carried away with the bounce and pace of the Australia pitches," he added.