Pakistan coach Lawson's departure fuels speculation
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

KARACHI, Aug 12 ( - Australian Geoff Lawson has sparked speculation over his future as Pakistan coach by leaving the country suddenly a month before it hosts the ICC Champions Trophy.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the former Australia fast bowler has gone to Australia and New Zealand on the advice of an International Cricket Council's (ICC) task force, to try and convince those players it was safe to play in the tournament.

The task force led by ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat was in Karachi on Tuesday to inspect the security arrangements for the eight-team event.

It was set up by the ICC after Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand raised serious safety concerns over travelling to Pakistan for the premier one-day tournament.

However, other board sources told Reuters that Lawson had left after another dispute with the national selectors over the make up of the final 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy.

"He had differences with the selectors over the selection of some players and was not happy with the situation," one source said.

Lawson has had differences with the selectors since he took over as coach last August and has publicly criticised them for having "ad-hoc" selection policies.

Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB chief operating officer, denied this.

"The only reason he has gone is because the task force felt he would be the best man to talk to the players in Australia and New Zealand and assure them about the situation in Pakistan," Naghmi said.

He added that Lawson did not leave with the task force as he had already asked for a few days vacations to spend time with his family in Sydney.

"His departure was not sudden, it was decided," Naghmi said.

Pakistan are due to announce their Champions Trophy squad later on Tuesday.

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