Mohammad Hafeez to be Pakistan head coach for tour of Australia and New Zealand

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Mohammad Hafeez will serve as Pakistan’s head coach in Australia and New Zealand. Hafeez had also been appointed as Pakistan team director – the position Mickey Arthur held until now – on Wednesday after a reshuffle followed Babar Azam’s resignation as Pakistan captain.

ESPNcricinfo understands the PCB will merge the roles of team director and head coach into one, a dual role the former Pakistan allrounder will execute for three Test matches in Australia and five T20Is in New Zealand, in December and January.

It is a significant step up for Hafeez, 43, who last played for Pakistan two years ago and does not have any coaching experience until now. But it is understood the current administration views the two separate roles for team director and head coach as superfluous.

Indeed, Pakistan did not have a team director until earlier this year. Former PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who had made no secret of his pursuit of Arthur, struck a deal with him that would see Arthur travel with the team for certain series and tournaments, while maintaining oversight when he could not be with the side under the stewardship of Grant Bradburn. When both Arthur and Bradburn were with the side, it was felt there was no distinct difference between their specific jobs, something that has prompted the current PCB administration to do away with the extra role.

The decision caps what have been a remarkably tumultuous 24 hours in Pakistan cricket. Babar resigned as captain from all three formats after he was told he would be relieved of his duties in the two white-ball formats. While that is a decision the PCB management committee likely lacks the authority to take, Babar opting to resign paved the way for Shan Masood’s appointment as Test captain, and Shaheen Afridi’s as T20I captain.
Soon after, Arthur and Bradburn saw their own roles significantly reduced, with the PCB saying they would be “reassigned”, without further clarification. They will not travel with the team to Australia, and while it was initially announced that Hafeez would take over as team director, there was no word on the head coach or the chief selector. Hafeez’s appointment as coach does complete the picture further, though the position of chief selector remains vacant, with Wahab Riaz the frontrunner.

Pakistan depart for Australia on November 30, and play a warm-up game against the Prime Minister’s XI at the Manuka Oval from December 6 to 9. The first Test begins in Perth on December 14. After the three Tests, the side also plays five T20Is in New Zealand.

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