After 7 months away from his family, Waqar is finally home

Pakistan's bowling coach, Waqar Younis gives press conference at Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 13 January 2021

After 7 months away from his family, Waqar is finally home

  • Waqar has been kept busy, touring England before his team went to Zimbabwe and then visited New Zealand
  • Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar were summoned by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday to explain the team’s results

ISLAMABAD: After going seven months without seeing his family while living in a bio-secure bubble and traveling the world as Pakistan’s bowling coach, Waqar Younis is finally getting to spend some time at home.
The 49-year-old Waqar has been kept busy, touring England before his team went on to host Zimbabwe and then visited New Zealand for another series of matches.
Pakistan played two tests in New Zealand but the former fast-bowling great was allowed to return home after his side lost the first game by 101 runs, in order to spend some time with his loved ones ahead of this month’s home series against South Africa.
“I didn’t see my family for the last seven months and got permission from the cricket board to spend time with my family,” Waqar told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday.
“Cricket is not the end of the world. There are also other things in life which are important.”
Pakistan lost the recent test series to New Zealand 2-0 and the Twenty20 encounter 2-1, and Waqar said it was especially tough for the players to go through 14 days of quarantine which limited them to their hotel rooms.
“Medically it’s proven that if you are closed in a room for one day, you have wastage of two days’ muscle,” Waqar said. “They are top athletes, they needed to be trained every day so these issues were also there, because of which we couldn’t win.”
Waqar and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq were summoned by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday to explain the team’s results, but both men will be given another chance in the home series against South Africa before their performance is re-evaluated.
Pakistan lost the test series in England 1-0 before tying the Twenty20 encounter 1-1. It then beat Zimbabwe in both the ODI and T20 series.
“It’s a performance-based (job) whether you do coaching or play international cricket,” Waqar said.
“If you give good results, you will keep getting opportunities.”
Pakistan’s fast bowlers struggled in the tests against New Zealand, losing both matches by heavy margins, with young pacemen Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi unable to generate the same speeds as New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner.
But Waqar says taking 20 wickets in a test is more important to him than relying on the pace of a fast bowler.
“Pace is important, and I understand that if you have it, it’s good, but for me how to get 20 wickets is more important,” he explained.
“If he is bowling at 140kph and not getting wickets, it’s useless, but if he is bowling at 120kph and taking wickets, it’s good to me.
“We also had issues of no-balls and dropped catches. We didn’t perform the way we would have wanted.”


Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

Updated 25 January 2021

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

  • Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place

LONDON: Frank Lampard was fired by Chelsea on Monday halfway through his second season in charge of the London club after being unable to replicate his success as the club’s record scorer in his first Premier League managerial job.
Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place, despite Lampard benefiting from nearly $300 million spent on new players for this season.
Chelsea said the performances had not shown “any clear path to sustained improvement” — making a change of managers necessary.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” owner Roman Abramovich said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
As the pressure has grown, the cracks were showing ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup win over Luton, when Lampard hit out at perceived negative coverage of the club.
But his own shortcomings of a fledging coaching career were being exposed and sentimentality counted for little despite being instrumental to the trophy-laden revival of the club as a player since the takeover by Abramovich in 2003.
Chelsea brought back its midfield great as coach in 2019 despite him having only a single season’s experience in management in the second division with Derby.
He achieved Champions League qualification in his first season by securing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. The rush to dismiss Lampard is indicative of the impatience shown by Abramovich, particularly when the team is slipping away from the Champions League spots.
After securing one of the biggest jobs in English management so early in his coaching career, Lampard leaves Stamford Bridge without any success having lost the 2020 FA Cup final to Arsenal.
Lampard is a Chelsea great after scoring 211 goals from central midfield from 2001-14, during which he won every major honor at the club including three Premier League titles and the Champions League. He was associated with some of the best moments in the club’s history and admired for his work ethic and making the most of his talent.