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Australia's Geoff Lawson has been named Pakistan's new cricket coach, replacing the late Bob Woolmer.

The 49-year-old former Australia Test bowler beat out compatriots Dav Whatmore and Richard Done to secure the role.

Lawson has coached New South Wales and was reportedly backed by most of the Pakistan team players, who found him more friendly.

"It's such a talented squad they have over there," he said after being informed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that he had secured the job.

"When you look at the class of player they have, you just have to be excited about being involved with them."

Whatmore, who played seven Tests for Australia as batsman and has coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, lost some points after former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga advised the Pakistan team management to avoid him.

Ranatunga's advice came when the Pakistan team was touring Scotland earlier this month, but Ranatunga's former colleague Muttiah Muralitharan and current player Kumar Sangakkara described Whatmore as a competent coach.

The Pakistan job is seen as one of the most difficult in the game.

The national side has had 11 different coaches in the past 10 years, with three stints each for former great Javed Miandad and Richard Pybus, Pakistan's first foreign coach.

Woolmer, who took over from Miandad in June 2004, was also criticised for his over-experimenting with the team and was certain to be sacked after Pakistan's first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup.

Lawson will be under pressure from the outset as Pakistan has a hectic international schedule commencing with the Twenty20 World Cup in September in South Africa.

Pakistan then host South Africa for two Tests and five one-day internationals before touring India for three Tests and five one-day internationals in November and December.

Pakistan also face world champions Australia in March and April next year.

Lawson said he expected to head over to Lahore within a month to prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup.

"What changes when we get there? Well, there'll probably be quite a few. I'm hoping to take a few more Australian personnel with me as well," he said.


Pakistan is a team that lacks unity. Once they can get their shit together within themselves then they will be a great team. The team should support whoever the coach is and not have unrest.
 
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