PCB sacks coach Geoff Lawson

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/geofflawson.jpg' class='caption'> The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday sacked coach Geoff Lawson, nearly six months before the completion of his contract.

Updated: October 24, 2008 14:30 IST
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In an unexpected turn of events, Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday fired national coach Geoff Lawson who claimed he was taken by surprise by the decision.

PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt took the decision and the Australian was given three months pay as compensation as per his contractual clause.

"The decision to release Lawson has been taken by the Chairman," a Board official said.

"Lawson's contract was to expire next year but the PCB wants to make a fresh target and build a new set-up. So it was decided to release him with full compensation," said another official.

However, Lawson who had a meeting with PCB Chairman on Friday, said he was not aware of the development.

"I have not been informed so far about my dismissal," Lawson, who took 180 wickets in 46 Tests and 88 in 79 One-Day Internationals between 1980-89, said.

One PCB source said Lawson was upset in the meeting as Butt did not bother to ask him anything about the problems he faced as coach or the team issues.

After the meeting, Lawson returned to the national academy and was preparing to have a net session with Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal when media people approached him for his comments.

"Indications are that things didn't go well in the meeting," one source said.

Lawson's removal led to rumours that former captain Javed Miandad will take over but when contacted he firmly denied he was interested in the coaching position.

Pakistan have had 11 different coaches in the past 10 years, with three stints each for Miandad and Richard Pybus, Pakistan's first foreign coach.

Butt has been highly critical of the performance of Lawson and had described him as a 'useless person' at his first press conference on Monday.

Butt had said Lawson's contract would not be renewed next year and had also made it clear that Lawson will not be sacked immediately as this would entail financial burden on the PCB.

Lawson had been hired by the PCB last year in August after the untimely death of Bob Woolmer during the World Cup.

In another major decision, Ejaz Butt also sacked chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi and replaced him with his trusted aide, former Test pacer Saleem Altaf.

Altaf will be the Director-General of the board with additional powers of chief operating officer.

Former Test captain Amir Sohail said that the Board had taken the right decision and whenever a new Chairman took over he likes to have his own team.

"So I don't think this is a big surprise. As it is, Lawson was unable to deliver much in his tenure," Sohail said.

He said the board should consider Miandad or Intikhab Alam as possible replacements for Lawson as they were dedicated coaches.

However, Tauqir Zia, former PCB Chairman believed that the manner in which Lawson was sacked would create bad blood and discourage foreigners from taking up any position in Pakistan cricket.

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