The former batsman was the captain of United over the first three seasons
Islamabad United, in a press release on Thursday, announced the appointment of the national team’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq as the new Head Coach for the franchise. The franchise also announced the appointment of New Zealand cricketer Luke Ronchi as the assistant coach of the team.
Misbah was the captain of United over the first three seasons, leading the team to two Pakistan Super League (PSL) championships during that span. He is also the most successful Test captain in Pakistan’s history, winning more Tests than anyone in the country’s history, culminating with leading the team to number-one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Rankings.
Luke Ronchi represented both Australia and New Zealand in international cricket and has been part of the Islamabad United squad since HBL PSL 3. He was the Assistant Coach with the New Zealand One-Day International (ODI) side which reached the final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. He will also serve as part of the coaching staff with the Central Stags team this season in his home country’s domestic season. He will take over the same role at Islamabad United, in addition to being a player.
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The duo join Saeed Ajmal, part of the 2016 championship winning team and now serving as spin bowling coach, to form a strong home-grown coaching core which has made the successful transition from players to coaches for United.
Regarding the move Ali Naqvi, the owner of the franchise said, “From the start one of our goals has been to promote from within. There has been a dearth of Pakistani coaches coming through, and we have aimed from the first season of the PSL to plan towards evolving experienced players into coaching. We are happy to have one former and one current player as members of the ISLU family join the coaching staff. We have already had Saeed Ajmal as part of the staff, and his success in that role has only confirmed our beliefs. Misbah and Luke’s achievements in setting up the identity of the franchise as the most successful one in the league are one of the keys for why Islamabad United is where it is.”
“With the PSL moving completely to Pakistan this year we’ve been preparing since the end of PSL 4 to evolve our franchise accordingly with more focus on developing and giving chance to our local talent. Prior to this we have had Saeed Ajmal be part of our coaching staff, and that is the first step in our long-term goal of members of this family transitioning from playing to coaching.”
Regarding his new role Luke Ronchi said, “I look forward to working at Islamabad United in this new role. I will look to mentor and coach the guys where needed. I love how this team is run like a family, and this constant evolution is a journey I wish to contribute on. I am particularly excited to be in Pakistan for the whole of the PSL. I’ve been to the country thrice now with United and it’s something that I am truly looking forward to.”
Regarding his appointment Misbah-ul-Haq stated, “I am humbled with the opportunity that Islamabad United have offered me, and I take this role as a massive responsibility. I know that this franchise has championship expectations but I am absolutely ready for the task at hand.”
“At Islamabad United we have some of the most talented and exciting cricketers around and I hope to help them play intelligently and fearlessly. I am aware of the dressing room culture of the franchise and I think we can continue to improve it so that United remains the most successful franchise in the PSL.”