Mark Coles has stepped down as head coach of Pakistan with immediate effect and will be returning to New Zealand next week. Iqbal Imam, the batting coach, will take charge of the team for the upcoming series against Bangladesh which is set to begin on October 26.
Coles, who took over as head coach in October 2017, was contracted till the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia next February-March. However, the Kiwi has chosen to step aside earlier than expected citing family reasons.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have decided to step down from my coaching role, something which I had enjoyed tremendously,” Coles said in a statement. “However, at this time my family responsibilities are such that they need my undivided attention and focus.”
“I have been thinking about this for some time and taking into account Pakistan has some critical assignments in the next few months, I thought it was fair to the side I convey my decision to the Pakistan Cricket Board so that they have enough time to find a replacement.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Lahore and working with the women’s team as well as all those who are associated with women’s cricket. It was been particularly pleasing to see some of the girls grow in stature and make their team and country proud.”
“I will miss working with all these girls and will always remain their supporter and well-wisher. I have no doubts the Pakistan national women’s team will continue to make an upward progress.”
Thank you Mark for making a difference in our team. You have helped us get better. May the future holds the best for you and your family. https://t.co/sVGWLNhO0f
— Sana Mir ثناء میر (@mir_sana05) October 3, 2019
During Coles’ tenure in charge, Pakistan showed massive improvement, achieveing some incredible results along the way. They are currently sitting fifth in the ICC Women’s Championship points table, one point behind South Africa and India.
In ODIs, Pakistan registered their first ever win over New Zealand, blanked Sri Lanka 3-0, beat West Indies 2-1 and also drew with South Africa, in South Africa.
While Coles’ T20I record as coach is not as impressive, he did teach Pakistan to bat with a more aggressive approach. They narrowly lost to West Indies at home, 2-1 and then missed out on another series win in South Africa, going down 3-2.
“I am fully aware of Mark’s personal reasons and appreciate that despite pressing matters, he remained committed to Pakistan and the national women’s team,” said Wasim Khan, PCB Chief Executive. “I would like to place on record our thanks to Mark for his contribution during his tenure.
“But family has to come first and in this relation, I understand and accept the reasons for his departure, though it is sad to see him leave at a time when the team has started to show signs of significant improvement.”
Many of the players also showed significant improvement under Coles. For one, Sana Mir became the world’s most successful spinner in ODIs, overtaking Anisa Mohammed with 146 wickets, while also being ranked no.1 in the ICC ODI bowlers ranking for a brief period. Second, both Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof were appointed captain of the Women’s Global Development squads for their tour of England and Australia, respectively. Third, Nida Dar became the first player from Pakistan to secure a deal in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. Also, to add to the list, the likes of Aliya Riaz, Nashra Sandhu, and Umaima Sohail have established themselves as central characters to the team’s growth over the next few years.
The PCB announced that the recruitment process for Coles’ successor will begin shortly.