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Pakistan v New Zealand 2024

Azhar Mahmood joins Pakistan as interim head coach for New Zealand T20Is

Azhar Mahmood becomes Pakistan coach
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Azhar Mahmood has left his Surrey job as assistant coach to join the Pakistan senior men’s team as the interim head coach for the upcoming New Zealand T20Is.

Pakistan are scheduled to play a five-match T20I series against New Zealand in April. They’ve been without a full-time coach since the departure of Grant Bradburn and Mickey Arthur, and PCB’s attempts of finding new candidates for the role on a permanent basis have so far failed.

For the New Zealand series, they’ve appointed a set of coaches and support staff on a temporary basis, with former fast-bowling all-rounder Mahmood being given the head coach role.

Mahmood has previously been associated with the Pakistan senior men’s team in a coaching capacity, having been their bowling coach between 2016-2019. Since 2022, he had been involved with Surrey as their assistant coach in what was a fruitful stint which saw them win two consecutive County Championship titles. Mahmood has also been a part of the Pakistan Super League and The Hundred as a coach.

Speaking on his departure from Surrey and on taking up the Pakistan offer, Mahmood said: “Surrey has long been a second home for me and for my family, so it was a difficult decision to take but the opportunity to work for my country again was too good to turn down. I am excited to start this new challenge in my career and can’t wait to get started with the team.”

The other members of Pakistan’s coaching and backroom staff include Mohammad Yousuf as the batting coach, Saeed Ajmal as the bowling coach, and Wahab Riaz as the team manager.

The T20I series will also mark the return of Babar Azam at the helm after Shaheen Afridi’s short stint as Pakistan T20I captain came to an end recently. The five games will be played across Lahore and Rawalpindi.

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