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Sports

December 2, 2016

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Razzaq replaces Pont in controversial circumstances

Razzaq replaces Pont in controversial circumstances

KARACHI: Abdul Razzaq’s appointment as bowling coach of Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Quetta Gladiators almost went unnoticed before his predecessor took to Twitter to express his displeasure.

The former Pakistan Test all-rounder was signed as assistant and bowling coach by the Gladiators, who reached the final of the inaugural PSF early this year.

He replaced Ian Pont as the Gladiators opted against extending the Englishman’s one-year contract.

Pont wasn’t happy with the development and expressed his disappointment in a tweet in which he disclosed that the PSL franchise did not even have the courtesy of informing him about the decision.

“I have just found out on social media, that I have been replaced as assistant and bowling coach for 2016 PSL runners-up, Quetta Gladiators,” Pont wrote in a statement released on his Twitter account. “Naturally, I respect the franchise’s decision to bring in someone else. That is their right.

“I do find it highly unprofessional not to have seen contacted by anyone from Quetta Gladiators about this beforehand, and only to discover the fact from a tweet by Abdul Razzaq who has been roped in as my replacement.

“Worse still, it is extremely late for me to approach another franchise in the PSL and had I been told what Quetta was planning, I could have at least had the chances to do so. The PSL is a really good competition and it was Shahid Afridi who personally advised me to go into it. I hope it goes from strength to strength.

“Putting my own disappointment aside, I wish Abdul very well in his new role. I am sure the fans will welcome him. Perhaps he can go one better and help win the PSL. Cricket is rife with poor communication and muddled thinking. However, remaining professional is a prerequisite regardless.”

Agencies add: Quetta were reluctant to address the matter in public, hoping to sort the issue with Pont in person. Cricinfo learnt that Pont’s agent was given a hint that the team was unlikely to extend his contract but did not get a confirmation until Razzaq’s appointment. The PSL management has also intervened to address this issue on its own.

Quetta were the runners-up last season, losing the final to Islamabad United in the UAE. The second edition is set to be played from February 2017, in Sharjah and Dubai, while the final will probably be played in Lahore, subject to security clearances. Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed continues to lead Quetta.

Razzaq last played for Pakistan in 2013, in a T20 against South Africa, and was last seen in Pakistan’s domestic circuit in 2015. His international career spanned 17 years after he had made his debut in 1996 against Zimbabwe in Lahore, a month before his 17th birthday. He has played 46 Tests, 265 ODIs and 32 T20Is, besides representing five counties.

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