Former Pakistan batsman Ijaz Ahmed will take over as head coach of the Pakistan Under-19 side after emerging on top in a six-man shortlist. Ijaz, who has previously served as the coach of the U-19 and Pakistan A sides – and once briefly took over as head coach of the senior team in 2010 – was handed a three-year contract in a role that will see him work closely with the ‘A’ side as well as the Under-16s.
The other names in the shortlist were Azam Khan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Kabir Khan, Abdul Razzaq and Atiq-uz-Zaman.
“I am thankful to the PCB for trusting me with the important responsibility of grooming and nurturing the future stars of Pakistan cricket,” Ijaz said. “Junior cricket is a lifeline for any cricketing nation; as it sees talented youngsters graduate to senior cricket and carry forward the legacy of some of the greatest cricketers this proud nation has produced.
“I am excited with this opportunity and look forward to playing my part in what are exciting times for Pakistan cricket.”
Ijaz will take charge of the Under-19 side following the Under-19 Asia Cup in September. His first assignment will come with the ‘A’ team, though, who he will oversee in an eight-nation T20 tournament in Kenya in September, with the Under-19 T20 World Cup on the horizon in 2020.
Ijaz has worked with the ‘A’ and junior teams, apart from being a fielding coach at the National Cricket Academy, for over a decade, while having been the helm of the Under-19 side that went all the way to the World Cup final in 2010. He was also involved with the Lahore Qalandars in the first edition of the Pakistan Super League, and is a qualified Level 2 coach. It is this experience, according to a PCB press release, that saw him beat the other competitors to the role.
“Ijaz was chosen for the assignment following a robust recruitment process in which a number of high-profile and quality former international cricketers were interviewed by Wasim Khan [PCB managing director] and Mudassar Nazar [PCB director – academies],” the release stated.
Mudassar said, “I have seen Ijaz Ahmed develop as one of the most talented coaches. He has a vision and strategy. He is hard working and has a reputation of being a good student of cricket who can analyse the game and spot talent.
“I have no doubts Ijaz will be make a significant contribution as a Pakistan U19 coach as the PCB has stepped up its endeavours to not only narrow the gap with international cricket but provide equal and fair opportunities to all the budding youngsters in the country.”