Karachi: A Pakistan Cricket Board official has confirmed that Australian Dav Whatmore, who coaches Shah Rukh Khan-owned IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders, is the front-runner to take over as head coach of the national team.
"Yes, we have held talks with Whatmore along with other potential candidates for the coaching positions advertised by us in the Pakistan team," the senior official, who declined to be named, told PTI.
The PCB has said that it is looking to appoint a head coach and specialist batting, bowling and fielding coaches for the national team.
The board, since September, has been in the process of inviting applications from interested candidates and has shortlisted some of them for the prime positions in the team.
The hunt for the new coaches began after former Test captain Waqar Younis stepped down after the Zimbabwe tour in September due to personal and health reasons. When he resigned, Waqar had 14 months left in his contract with the PCB.
The official said initial talks had been held with Whatmore to assess his point of view and the committee appointed by the board and headed by Intikhab Alam was still in the process of preparing a list of final candidates for the board to approve.
Whatmore, a former Australian Test player, gained recognition as the coach of the Sri Lankan team that won the 1996 World Cup.
He later coached Bangladesh with no notable success and was also the director of cricket operations at India's National Cricket Academy.
Whatmore was among the three candidates shortlisted in 2008 by the PCB for the position of head coach when Nasim Ashraf was chairman but later the board preferred to appoint former Australian pacer Geoff Lawson after reports emerged that some players were not comfortable with having Whatmore.
The source said the board would be taking into confidence captain Misbah-ul-Haq and other senior players before making a final appointment of the coaches.
Besides Whatmore, the source said former South African player Jonty Rhodes, Australian Julian Fountain and Englishman D Dunlop were also in the running.
"The PCB is facing a catch-22 situation with the team doing well and on a winning momentum under Misbah and interim coach Mohsin Khan. It has yet to decide when to bring in the new coaching staff," another source said.