UAE coach Aaqib Javed is being lined up to replace Waqar Younis at the helm of the Pakistan cricket team, according to widespread reports.
Javed has been with the UAE since 2012 and overseen significant progress during his tenure.
The UAE qualified for the 50-over World Cup for only the second time in 2015, a year after making their first appearance at a World T20.
Perhaps most significantly for the UAE, Javed and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are in the process of creating the first central contracts for players from the emirates as they enter the realms of professionalism.
His exit from the UAE would come as a bitter blow, such is his influence on the game in the country, but a return to his native Pakistan may prove too tempting to resist.
The 43-year-old would also not have to uproot his family too drastically with the UAE playing host to Pakistan cricket for the foreseeable future.
“Aqib has emerged as one of the strongest contenders for the head coach’s position because he has proven himself [with UAE], while he was the one to introduce modern-day coaching methods in Pakistan,” a PCB official was quoted by The Tribune as saying.
“In addition, he is also liked by the players because he understands their problem and offers them a comfort zone to excel in.”
Javed played 22 Tests and 163 ODIs for his country and was an integral part of Pakistan’s national cricket academy before moving to the UAE.
As head of that academy, Javed oversaw the early development of the likes of Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Sarfraz Ahmed among others.
And in 2004 Javed coached Pakistan to the U19 Cricket World Cup trophy before taking on a role as bowling coach with the senior side.
Javed is likely to be seen as the perfect man to lead that generation and the next into a new era of Pakistan cricket.
Fellow former fast-bowler Waqar is under immense pressure after a disappointing World T20 campaign and said on his return to Lahore that “If my leaving makes things better, then I would do it without delay”.
Emirates Cricket Board chief executive David East told Sport360 that there was no official statement to be made by the ECB at this time without an official approach from the Pakistan Cricket Board.
East said he was aware of the media reports surfacing in Pakistan but would not comment on hearsay.
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